The walk that changes everything

Written by Lisa Tyson
Published on May 20, 2022

The Book of Parenting has so many chapters. 

We start the day we find out we are going to be parents thinking of names and planning the nursery. Then the baby is here—this is when you realize that you actually will probably do all of the “I’ll never ______.” 

When they start kindergarten, we get the new backpack, new shoes, new school clothes, new school supplies. We meet new friends. Play new games. Read new books. Meet more new teachers. Make more new friends. Buy more new clothes. Another new backpack. And so it goes for the next several years through elementary, middle school, and high school. 

Each year a new chapter of “new.” 

We get so lost in our book some days that we forget what page we are even on! By the time they make it through high school we have made thousands of lunches. Signed hundreds of papers. Read millions of emails. We have become “experts” at being a school mom. 

Then it happens—the last day.  

The last last day

Most of the time, we get excited about the last day of school. No schedule. No lunches. No carpool line. No early wake ups. Family vacations. Pool time. Friends galore. Sweet summertime! 

But on this particular last day, the feelings are a little bit indescribable. They range from excitement to terror with a little giddy laughter and ugly cry mixed in. 

What is the difference? 

It is the last last day. And the movie reel that begins on the day they were born begins to play on fast forward and repeat in your head.  It’s the day they have waited for since all their lives to this point. 

They see a freedom on the horizon that has unrivaled any freedom they have experienced before. They are adults now—all grown up. Ready to face the world. 

What they do not realize is that we have been waiting for this day their whole lives too—but for entirely different reasons. Sure, we are excited. We remember the good ole days when we were young and free. 

That was great for us, but for our babies—many of us would give an arm and a leg to turn the clock back just a little bit and let us savor our families the way they have been for the past 18 years—all together under the same roof every night all the time. 

The ending of your book

On graduation day, they take a walk that changes everything. 

I remember the second that “Pomp and Circumstance” started playing, the tears started flowing. As he walked in with his class, and smiled at us when he passed, I saw his 18 year old face looking at me. 

But the face I saw in my mind was a little boy. I had learned a long time ago from one of my Bible study teachers about measuring life with your kids in “summers left.” This is how many summers before the one they leave for college. 

I realized, at that moment, that I had zero “summers left.” If that thought does not stop you in your tracks, I do not know what will! 

As they cross the stage and take their diploma, shake the hand of their principal, and move the tassel from one side to the other, your book ends. 

But you do not stop being their parent! That will not change. Their life at home, to this point, has been their Prologue. Your role in their life now—it is an Epilogue. 

God’s children first

This is why it is the walk that changes everything—THEIR book begins. It is their turn to take all that they have become under your watchful care and make something of themselves in the world. 

Maybe they go to college. Maybe they join the military. Maybe they go to trade school. Maybe they start working. Maybe. . .  

It truly is the moment we have worked, and prayed for, our whole lives. If you are like me, you have probably said over and over, “they are not mine—God just gave them to me for a season—they belong to him.” 

And they do—they are his children entrusted to us to love and guide and teach. We think that we are ready. But as they walk across that stage, the moment hits us like a ton of bricks, and we wonder if they are ready. 

Have you loved enough? Have you prayed enough? Have you taught enough? Have you ______ enough? 

The feeling in your gut is a resounding no! However, the feeling in your soul is a quiet yes. Why? Because you know they were never really yours to begin with. You know it really is their turn. They will do great things. Along the way, they will do really really dumb things, too. It’s OK. 

We made some unwise decisions on our way to functional adulting. They will need a lot of grace this next season. You will too. (In case no one told you, parenting older teens/young adults is harder than all other parenting seasons combined.)  

That walk…it really does change everything. But it is okay. It is supposed to. So when they toss that hat up in the air, celebrate! Whoop and holler and know that the best is truly yet to come. 

Their story is just beginning. I trust the Author to write every word of it perfectly for them.  “…all my days are written in your book and ordained for me before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:16 NAS).

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Lisa Tyson

My name is Lisa Tyson. I am a Baylor graduate, have been married to the only man I have ever loved for the past 24 years, and we have 3 perfectly imperfect children — 20 (rising Jr. at Texas Tech), 17 (rising Senior), and 12 (rising 7th grader). Our oldest two are boys and the youngest is a sweet and spicy girl. I run my own practice as an Educational Diagnostician working with school districts to identify and serve their bilingual students while my husband works in the Operations Department for our church. I speak Spanish fluency and I love to read and scrapbook. One of my many life verses is, “She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future” (Proverbs 31:25). I am far from an Insta-mazing wife and mom — we eat the same leftovers over and over, I forget every picture day, and I had to buy my middle child new socks and underwear when I packed all of his and sent them to college with his brother (in an effort to not forget anything). But one thing I do well is this: I remember that the Lord has lavished us with His grace and nothing that touches our family is by accident. So we press on and push through knowing that He has always been faithful — no matter what.

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