I write this with mixed feelings.
One end I ponder the feeling watching my kids grow and begin moving on with their life to the opposite end of watching a parent age and come to the end of his.
I find great joy in seeing the years of cleaning up messes, wiping a few bottoms, disciplining a few hearts, and hugging them through their trials that those endless days and nights are worth watching as they become wonderful young adults.
On the other end...is a life that as come full circle. A dad who worked for years paying bills, solving my problems, fixing broken bikes, teaching me to water/snow ski, took me on vacations, gave me piggy back rides, showed me how a man should treat a woman, taught me how a woman should treat a man, who bought my first car, paid for my college, lead me to the Lord and was always there when I needed a strong hug, is now...in need of me.
We know that our kids will grow and age.
But I find I am not ready for my parents to age.
I don't think you can be ready for kids to grow and leave the nest until it is time.
Nor do I think you can be ready for parents to age and come back home to nest.
My children are learning who to depend upon during their struggles and my dad is realizing he will need to depend upon us more. I love knowing that his ultimate dependency is in the Lord. But he will count on us for the physical needs while still on earth. He is still the same quiet, gentle, man of strength. But that strength is more in who he relies upon vs his physical strength we all see.
As the tears begin to come I realize how precious life is and how quick it goes. Wasn't it just yesterday we were sitting in the living room with him reading the paper and me working on homework? Wasn't it just yesterday he was changing the oil in my car so I could run around with friends while he sat at home worried I was safe? Wasn't it just yesterday he walked me down the isle and gave me to my husband? Wasn't it just yesterday he was standing at the hospital door at the delivery of another grandchild?
Oh...there will still be more memories. Dad is still here and not gone yet. But this wonderful man will now rely upon us to meet his daily needs vs him meeting ours. He did what the Lord asked him to do by living for HIM, by leading with humility, by training his children in the Lord, by loving his wife like Christ loves the church, by praying continually, by exhibiting the fruits of the Spirit, by seeking forgiveness and granting grace...he loved us unconditionally and we will love him through it all.
Watching a body age is just a reminder that we live on a fallen planet and this is not our home.
One day, my children will watch their own children grow as they watch me age. I pray I've walked a path that will bring joy during the sorrow and that they will rejoice in what we had and not dwell on what has passed.
I write this with tears in my eyes knowing that whether it is 1 year, 2 years, 5 years, or 10. My dads body may be going but his spirit, life, and joy will remain in those who he touched and raised. I will miss those days (just like I do with my children) but know I am very, very blessed to have had them at all.