by Deb DeArmond
“Aren’t you just devastated?” my colleague moaned.
“No, not really. I mean, we will certainly miss them,” I replied. “But they are clear that California is where God is taking them. I want them to be where He wants them to be. It was such a gift to have them here for two years.”
I told her about a dinner, hosted by my hubby and I — a gathering for a few family members recently. The purpose of the event was to share a meal and bid farewell to my oldest son and his wife as they prepared to relocate back to the west coast. They were set to leave the next morning.
“Oh, that would just be impossible to think about,” she said, shaking her head. “I couldn’t stand to lose my boys.”
Her declaration of “losing her boys” made me smile. Her sons are in elementary school. I can clearly understand her feelings, even if I don’t share them. But I did at one time . . .
My boys are all grown up with careers, with families of their own – adults. It took some getting used to – that awareness that mom and dad are not the central force in their lives. But we did get used to it—and we appreciate God’s clarity about the concept of leaving and cleaving. “Train up a child in the way he should go . . .” the Word says. Most importantly, Mama, remember they are to GO.
With the holidays approaching quickly, I want to encourage you to remember that God set them apart to stand with their spouses. That can become an issue and a bone of contention when it comes to holiday celebrations. Here are a couple of tips to make the season far more enjoyable for everyone:
- Communicate early. Make sure you discuss what everyone’s plans or intentions are for celebrating the holiday. Make no assumptions, as it may lead to disappointment for you and them.
- Be flexible as to what and when and where and how – and you may be surprised with the best day ever! Traditions are great, but if they no longer work, create some new ones.
- Be fair. You don’t get to have them 100% of the time. They have in-laws, friends, and may decide that this year is not your year. Don’t pout or punish them. Make your own plans and prepare for a lovely time.
- Celebrate their independence. It’s a sign you did a great job of prepping them for adulthood. This is what is supposed to happen, and because it did, you can rejoice.
So, don’t hold so tightly to those adult kids that they want to squirm free of your grip. Make this holiday season one of the best celebrations ever.
Check out additional tips in my book on in-law relationships, which can be a holiday challenge: Related by Chance, Family by Choice at http://bit.ly/RelatedByChanceFamilyByChoice