My youngest daughter, Sara, just got home from serving a 19 month mission in the Kansas Wichita Mission. She LOVED it! She tells me that she was born in Utah, but she grew up in Kansas! She loves the people of Kansas, and the things that she learned while serving there! So it was only appropriate that when she came home that we greet her at the airport with all the grand-kids dressed as characters from the Wizard of Oz! It took me two weeks to sew the costumes for our now 8 grandchildren, but I had a blast, and relished the time and the "excuse" to be able to come in and just sew! It seems like my own life has taken off on it's own tornado, and it hasn't touched down yet!
These sweet children are my grandchildren! Tyler is the Tin Man, Then we have the Lollipop Guild - which, by the way, passed out lollipops to the people at the airport while we were waiting for Sara to come home! They passed out around 100 lollipops and had a blast. When Sara finally got off the plane, they welcomed her home with the Lollipop Guild Dance! It was classic! Our Lollipop Guild is Jackson in the Green, Aiden in the Red, and Ryan behind them in the Blue! Our sweet little 3 month old scarecrow, Noah, was just a tiny newborn when Sara arrived. Thankfully he decided to stay little and still fit in his costume! His growth was the spur for the photo shoot!
Then we have Brooke as Glinda the Good Witch, with Laura as Dorothy and Franz as the Lion! These awesome grandchildren are the light of my life. I can say that sewing costumes for them is very satisfying, and makes not being able to quilt worth it. :) What a grandma won't do for those perfect grandchildren!
Sara received her shirt in the last box we sent to her before she came home. She got the shirt and a lot of quotes from the movie, "The Wizard of Oz" along with some new red shoes. She was more than a little nervous to come home, but we're sure glad to be able to have her home for the summer before she heads off to school and trades that t-shirt for a BYU Idaho hoodie! Sara tells us she wants to get back to Kansas, and that she may have been born in Utah, but she grew up in Kansas! All Dorothy had to do was click her heels! Home was Kansas.
When our children leave home and have experiences, whether it's on a mission like Sara and three of her brothers did to volunteering to teach English in China like another daughter did, we have to remember as parents that they are receiving life experience of their own, and have been able to learn valuable experiences that have helped prepare them for the world. We can let them fly from home when they actually do "visit" us at home again.
I say "visit" because in my experience, I am finding that a lot of parents in today's world want to hang on to their children- even after life building and maturing experiences that build that child's self confidence and self assurance in themselves. Sometimes even after they are married! That's so damaging to a child. They are ready to leave your nest and set out for themselves. As hard as it is, you need to encourage them to try their wings. Encourage them to use those skills to grow! Embrace the gift that your child can be independent and free! It's what you have taught them to be! It's the seed that you have planted in them. It's a seed that was planted in them also by their Creator. It's going to be ok. THEY are going to be ok. YOU are going to be ok. It's part of the plan. It's time to let them go. Let them follow that Yellow Brick Road. Let them begin their journey.
Sara is my "baby girl" and I remember when she "grew up" and started doing things that left me home alone, I just sort of wandered around the house and I didn't know what to do! I have spent my whole life in the service of my family! And all of a sudden I have TIME. and I didn't know what to do with myself! I was so overwhelmed with this time to myself that I couldn't function! I actually didn't know what to do! But that changed ..... I had to accept that Sara had grown up, and I had to walk through that door to being an EMPTY NESTER! It was a hard door to walk through. And it was a scary door to walk through. But I finally did it.
You know what? It's a great door to walk through! Turns out the dang thing is a revolving door! At least at our house it is! And it brings home friends, and new boyfriends (currently), and new babies, and new pets, and a lot of stuff from Amazon, and grandkids that are old enough to have sleep-overs at Grandma's and sleep in my room and wear me out! and I have TIME with my sweetheart. Time that we have yearned for through the years when we were raising our family. We planned for it, we nurtured it, and sowed the seeds for that someday. Well, guess what. The seeds have sprouted, and we are starting to see the harvest! After 33 years of raising our family, and having courage to let my children FLY, I get to rest and embrace the time with the man of my youth and the man of my dreams! It's awesome!
Here is some of the sweet fruits of our labors! It's the reward for not killing the teenagers! :)
I couldn't have this - if I didn't let my kids follow their own path down that yellow brick road, and meet the people in their lives that will influence them, give them their trials, help them in their trials, bless their lives, bring color to their lives, protect them, love them and help them be courageous.
Eventually they make it to the Emerald City and find out who their real friends are, and that all along, home is where there is love and safety. Home, hopefully for your children is where there is love and peace and happiness and refuge. And they have made it that way, because they were able to follow their own pathway and make correct choices. They might not be "babies" any longer, but they are still your children, and I can tell you this. The sweet babies they bring home with them are worth letting them follow their own path, and supporting them on their journey. Just Love Them. They'll come home eventually. And they bring these sweet angel babies with them.
Well Miss Sara - I don't know who to warn first that you're starting your journey! :) Idaho? The boys? or the Flying Monkeys! But I do know one thing! You're up for the adventure!
I can't wait to see your story!
Many thanks to Camera Shy in Lehi Utah for taking our photographs and playing with our kids! You are awesome Ashley B! www.camerashy.com