I'm feeling sentimental tonight. In the morning, Paul Jr. will leave to attend college. That's a good thing. I'm so happy for him and so proud of him. He's waited along time for this day and I'm glad it's finally here.
I just wish it didn't entail an ending. It is an ending of our family the way it is. It will never be the same. Oh, I know he'll visit and maybe come back for the summer. But it will never be the same. Tonight is the last night of his childhood, even though he's not been a child for a long time. Tonight is the last night he will sleep in our home as a "part" of us. Tonight we are 8; tomorrow, we will be 7.
I can't help but think back over the years that have too quickly flown by. I have many regrets, many things left undone, things left unsaid. I think of the many times I got angry way too quickly and the many times I was tired and just wanted to be left alone. I think of the times I handled situations badly, or was unfair or unjust. I'm reminded of some of the long, hard days and the longer, harder nights.
I am also reminded of grace, specifically God's grace, and how He took my feeble efforts to parent and blessed them. He took my ignorance and turned it into something beautiful. He took my desire to love my children and made it swell into something huge. God has been so gracious to our family. We are nothing without Him and without His hand of blessing.
So tomorrow, I will hug my son goodbye and shed many tears. I will grieve for what is over, but I will also celebrate what is beginning in him as he follows God's calling on his life.
Here is a slideshow I made for his high school graduation. It's a tearjerker.