words by jenny
The past few months have held some of our hardest parenting moments and others that have held such intense moments of joy.
There were days that their emotions were raw and anger was misplaced and the grief was overwhelming. And there have been other days that they were adventurous and brave in ways that we have never seen that left us so proud.
One of the greatest gifts to come out of this summer of transition and limbo was watching our kids bond in a way that they have never had to before. Their relationship was certainly rocky at times, but in the midst of all the change they forged a deeper friendship than ever.
In Chicago we lived in a 2-flat with a family of 6 living above us. Our kids were all very close in age and I can’t even imagine how many hours our families logged together in the four years that we lived under the same roof. It was magical and needed and unbelievably helpful. And all of that is a whole other blog post in itself. We had built in friends all the time, literally feet away from our front door. And then out our front door was a street lined with homes that housed more friends. And down the street a neighborhood school with even more friends. And a church family filled with more kids than adults and even more friends.
It’s been really hard for me at times this summer to see this empty space of community and friendship in the life of my kids. There have been few folks we could call up for a play date and I couldn’t just send them upstairs to invite their friends down for a few minutes before dinner as we were so in the habit of doing.
But in the void, my kids found each other in a new way. They built dragons out of Legos together and he read her lots of books. They became pod racers on their scooters and he taught her to play foursquare. She invited him into her world of mud pies and they spent hours playing their imaginary game of nup-nups that they developed some years ago. They experienced something together that is unique to them and that few others can understand. They learned to cling together in the midst of it all. It is a bond and an experience that I am praying will carry them forward in their friendship for many years to come.
And that is what voids do. They open up space for the new to come in. For growth. For change. For challenges. For relationships. For life in ways not yet experienced.
Yesterday the kids started school and soon they will have many new friends to share their life with. Their community will become robust once again and this summer of relative solitude will just be a memory. The void will be filled.
In the wake of this new school year that will consume the days of my kids, I am now the one being left with a void. After 8+ years of mainly being home with little ones, the youngest is now off to school all day and my days will now take on a very different rhythm. It is both so exciting and completely terrifying.
So I am attempting to enter the void with expectation and curiosity about what new life, new growth, new challenges will fill the space. I’m trying not to rush to fill the space just because it is unknown and uncomfortable, but to wait and to listen and to pray and to be present to the void.
So here’s to a season of new seasons in new seasons.