I wrote this post the day after Matthew’s parents and sisters left us in Oklahoma. We woke up and the house was quiet. I cried for days. I didn’t share this with most people because I didn’t want to seem weak or vulnerable, but the reality of life is, sometimes it does hurt. Heartache doesn’t make you weak and it doesn’t make you vulnerable. It makes you real.
Tomorrow it will be one week since we said goodbye to our home in Foley, Alabama. I have many blogworthy moments from our voyage. I made mental notes of many. I do that all the time. I’ll see something happening in front of me and think to myself, “BLOGWORTHY!” Sometimes it’s good. Sometimes it’s bad. Sometimes I’ll store it away in my crazy mind for a while before I write about it. That being said, though many of the hilarious memories of the past week are flooding through my mind right now, I’m not going to write about that today. Today, I’m going to write about growing up.
I grew up this week.
You’d think the wedding and two kids would have taken care of that, right?
It took 846 miles for me to grow up. And after that, I’ve decided that I don’t really fancy it. Ive been saying for many weeks that I’m confident that we’re going where God wants us (and after the horrific obstacles we encountereed on the way, I’m positive!), but being a grown up wasn’t something I expected.
Being a grown up is hard. It’s full of heartache. Suddenly your heart doesn’t just ache for your own selfish reason, but it aches for those outside of your body. It aches for your husband who is trying relentlessly to cheer you up while dealing with his own heartache. It aches for your four year old who doesn’t understand that we can’t go by his grandparent’s house today because it’s not in the same town. It aches for your parents who are in a town with no more family. It aches for your in-laws who said goodbye to their first child and their only grandchildren hoping they taught them everything they needed to know so that they could go out and do great things for God’s kingdom… It just aches.
At the park this week, Carter and I were swinging next to two young girls. They were care-free and enjoying a nice day on the bench fantasizing about future husbands and children they’ll have.
“I’m getting married no later than 19,” said the girl with dark hair, “I want to get married young so that I can start a family.”
“Yes, me too! My limit is 21. Anything after that and I’d feel old.” said the blonde, “I just can’t wait to grow up.”
Why does being a grown up sound so appealing? Even Carter is considering growing up.
Yesterday at the store, out of nowhere, he exclaimed, “Mommy, when I grow up, I’m going to push a buggie like you and I only want boys in it.” Before I could agree or object, he added, “and my wife. I want to push her in it too.”
I don’t want Carter to get married. I don’t want him to grow up.
I realize that I can’t prevent my sweet angels from growing up. I can’t keep their precious innocence forever. I can’t keep their childhood painless. The adulthood slowly chips that away…. A realization here… a learning experience there… and before you know it, adulthood is present. Pain is present. Heartache is present.
The realization that the Day family in Oklahoma consists of four people kind of stung. As a young adult, I swore I would never leave “the south.”
Many people would speculate that Oklahoma is part of “the south,” but trust me, I’ve ordered sweet tea before and gotten some nasty looks…
God does that sometimes. He sees what our flesh wants…. To cling to people and earthly things like monogrammed jon-jons and plantation homes… I’ve accepted that my boys will probably not grow up the way that I did in the south. They probably won’t experience walking down the street without shoes on or picking wild muscadines in the back yard. They probably won’t ever go to Sunday lunch where everyone knows their name or star in a local production of “Come Back to God America.”
When they grow up and have children of their own, they won’t tell them, “I grew up just down the road from my grandparents and I visited every day.”
But do you know what they will say?
I hope it’s something like this…
I grew up in a home where my parents loved me, but they loved God so much more. I grew up watching my parents follow Christ fearlessly and recklessly and raising me to do the same.
Until then, boys, in the words of the great Taylor Swift, just try to never grow up.
“Your little hand’s wrapped around my finger
And it’s so quiet in the world tonight.
Your little eyelids flutter ’cause you’re dreaming
So I tuck you in, turn on your favorite night light.
To you, everything’s funny. You’ve got nothing to regret.
I’d give all I have honey
If you could stay like that.
Oh, darling, don’t you every grow up
Don’t you every grow up, just stay this little
Oh, darling, don’t you ever grow up
Don’t you ever grow up, it could stay this simple
I won’t let anybody hurt you, won’t let no one break your heart
And no one will desert you
Just try to never grow up.
Take pictures in your mind of your childhood room
Memorize what it sounded like when your dad gets home.
Remember the footsteps, remember the words said
And all your little brother’s favorite songs
I just realized everything I have is someday gonna be gone.
So here I am in my new apartment
In a big city, they just dropped me off.
It’s so much different than I thought it would be
So I tuck myself in and turn my night light on.
Oh, I don’t wanna grow up, wish I’d never grown up.
I could still be little.
Oh, I don’t wanna grow up, wish I’d never grown up.
It could still be simple.
Oh, darling, don’t you ever grow up, just stay this little.
Oh, darling don’t you ever grow up, just stay this little.
No one’s ever burned you, nothing’s ever left you scarred…
So even though you want to, just try to never grow up.
And even though you want to, please try to never grow up.”
-“Never Grow Up” Taylor Swift