When I was I kid, I tried to climb a pine tree to hide from my dad. I had been playing with my cousins in my grandmother’s backyard and heard my dad calling for me. It was time to go home. Desperately, I headed to the first thing I saw in order to escape having to leave. Only in my rush to get up the tree, my foot slipped on a branch and I went tumbling back down.
My dad pulled me to my feet, brushed me off, and made sure I hadn’t gotten badly hurt. All he ever said to me was, “It’s time to go.”
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. I think of this verse from Ecclesiastes often as my parents and I are both transitioning into a new season in our lives.
The one thing I admire most about my dad is that no matter what age I’ve become, where I’m at, or who I’m with – he always puts me back on my feet.
However, in his eyes I will never be too old to be his little girl, but I see him and my mom growing older with each visit. I cherish the moments of listening to my dad talk about times before I was born, and tell my kids stories about the way he was raised and how we grew up. My kids are not old enough to appreciate these memories or appraise their value, yet.
“I love you,” I tell my kids this often, maybe too often, and my youngest always responds, “I love you more.”
Of course, I say to my child, “You can’t possibly love me more than I love you.”
So my child will challenge me, “Why not?”
That in its self is a million dollar question. It often has me going back and thinking of my parents and that verse from Ecclesiastes. I think of all the extra hours, all the things my parents may have wanted and never pursued because they put the needs of their children and their family before their own.
Then I look at my children and think of the dreams I’ve put on hold, the wants I’ve let go, and the time I’ve invested in each child who one day may find themselves in my place at this moment. I can’t help wondering if there were days when my parents felt the cost of raising us children was more effort than we were worth.
I’m sure they had some of those days like we all do, but never ones not worth having us kids. Especially, when they looked into our faces and saw one of God’s greatest gifts smiling up at them.
I know, because I see it, too, as I look into the faces of my own children and find a bit of myself looking back. Sometimes as a parent, the best thing we can do for our children is put them back on their feet and tell them, “It’s time to go,” because the next season of our lives is waiting for us.