"They have a perfect house, Mom. Perfect furniture, perfect paint on the walls, perfect decorations and it all is immaculate. Their yard has no weeds and is perfectly landscaped. They drive perfect vehicles and wear perfect clothes."The observations of our fifteen-year-old daughter on a dual career, two child, last of the baby boomers, upper middle class couple whose youngest daughter will graduate in June.
I got to sit next to one of these fifty-something women at a banquet celebrating our Senior student's top ten achievement the other night. She was petite and tidy, wearing a plain blouse and pants. She had a sweet demeanor and was very kind.
Her husband was the quintessential average everyday guy. Holding on to his good looks from his youth but for an extra thirty pounds in his gut. He wore the appropriate North Face jacket, was clean shaven and quiet.
As the woman, myself, and another mom discussed our children's plans for after graduation, she started to become emotional and said to us:
Her daughter will be moving out to live on campus where her son already is. She hasn't seen him since Easter - he's busy, though campus is less than a 30 minute drive from their home."What do we do now?"
If her children are anything like their peers in this generation, grandchildren are a long ways off - if they ever come at all.
Her life for the last twenty years has been very busy; babies, career, making the perfect looking home, school activities, sports, and church.
So, fast approaching is the beginning of a period of time where everything is completed. That rat race we run to "get it all done" and "have it all" is winding down for her. And like I've said before, what she now has is time. Lots of it.
Time at an age where grocery trips are few and far between, nothing needs to be repaired or replaced in the home, no carpooling needs to be done, no traveling on the weekend to whatever sporting event her children are participating in, the house is clean and doesn't get very dirty, two loads of laundry a week doesn't take much time - so what now?
The question alone tells a story of what hasn't been done for the last twenty years. That man, sitting next to her, has been a co-parent with her and obviously a great provider. But to ask the question is to reveal that he has not been her priority."What do we do now?"
And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. - Genesis 2:18
As difficult as it may be to understand, moms, we were not created for our children. Feminists, we were also not created for our own selves.
While it may be too late for any Gen X'ers reading, who are in the midst of the rat race with their children - pouring all of their time and focus into their children's lives. Hopefully the younger moms reading will hear what I'm saying.
Your children are temporary visitors. You were not created for them.
The best gift you can give your children is the example of living the life you were created for on this earth.
You were created for him.
Raise your children well, set boundaries on the amount of time they consume, and cherish the time you have with them. But set your priority on your husband. Do this so when the time comes for your children to leave home you will only feel a small pang of missing them but you will feel an excitement of what's to come.
What is in store for you is an abundant amount of time for you and your husband to do anything you want to do. You now have time for all of the hobbies, interests, entertainment, and intimacy for you and your husband to indulge in.
Tell your children to call before stopping in because you may be running around naked in your house. Stay up until dawn giggling with him and drink in the sunrise. Sleep all day. Feed each other chocolate dipped strawberries by the fireplace. Go fishing. Go hunting. Go hiking. Hold hands as you walk through the Zoo. Go to sporting events. Spend a week laying on a beach drinking frou frou drinks and eating seafood.
Don't get to this precious time in your life in the habit of not spending time together having made your children your sole priority. Live life in such a way that you can't wait for your husband to get home from work and can't wait until the children are in bed so you can be alone. Live with your husband as God has told you you should and you will never have to ask:
"What do we do now?"