2016 is a special year for me. This year I have a child in each level of the education system. My oldest son, Josh, just left home for university. My second son is in high school, my third child (only daughter) is in middle school, and my youngest son is in junior school.
With four children, preparing for the new academic year has always been a challenge to say the least. However, it was especially busy this year because I had to help Josh move into his residence. Having stayed home for university, I had no idea what to do and where to start.
Thank God for friends who are older and wiser! From friends who have already sent their kids to university, I learned that I needed to buy a bed bug mattress cover (something which I didn’t even think about until they mentioned it) and they kindly told me where to buy one. They shared with me which prepared foods are best for students living in an apartment style residence, how to prepare the food, where to buy certain items, what to pack, and what not to pack. It was also from talking to them that I was able to remind Josh (not so gently) to apply for OSAP. Another good resource was the university website. They had a great web page for parents with lots of good tips for moving into the residence.
Preparing for all this made me reflect on my role is as a parent. Initially when Josh first mentioned that he wanted to go away for university, I was nervous and apprehensive. Was he ready? Can he survive on his own? Was I ready to let him go? However, I realized that I can’t keep him, or any of my kids, at home with me forever. They are gifts from God and I am just a steward. My job is to nurture and prepare them to live as responsible human beings.
I heard the phrase, “let go and let God” at the first Women’s Gathering. As a believer, I found comfort in these words. For me, it was a reminder to let go of the control, stop worrying, and let God take over. God will watch over them and will be with them all the time. As parents we can pray for them, comfort them when they call home tired and feeling lonely, and encourage them when they lose confidence in themselves.
I’m reminded of the song, “Somewhere Out There” from An American Tail and the following lyrics, “and even though I know how very far apart we are, it helps to think that we might be wishing on the same bright star.” That star for us is God. It’s comforting to know that while Josh and I are not in the same city, we are praying to the same loving God.