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Walking Along the Road

You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. “You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up.

I have spent six years in a blissful Norman Rockwell-esque existence with my two boys. But yesterday, the bubble popped around my fragile world. That's right. My oldest son is now an official middle-schooler. He graduated, despite the fact that I was all but shackling his ankles to his desk in an effort to keep him in his safe little cocoon.

You see, I live in a sweet front-porch community where the elementary school sits smack dab in the middle of my neighborhood. Every temperate morning, I walk my kids to school and then back again at the end of the day. We literally stop and smell the roses growing alongside my neighbor's picket fence and the kids clamber up trees on our route home. It's heaven. And I don't want it to end.

But, it has, at least for one of my boys. I realize that I will never again walk my oldest son to or from school for the rest of his life. And this, my friends, is enough to send me straight into my pajamas with a case of Hagen Dazs.

Although his little brother will remain at our lovely little school with its lovely little desks, my oldest will now venture into the world of pre-teendom. He'll get acne and start liking girls. Pretty soon, I won't be welcomed with huge wide-open arms at school. Instead, I'll be shunned, like the drunk uncle at Thanksgiving.  (You know he needs to be there, but that doesn't mean you like it).

So, now that the inevitable has taken place, I suppose I must make peace with it. He will get taller than me. His voice will change.  He'll continue to grow up.  And, I know that's the point. But it doesn't quell the ache in my chest or alleviate this feeling that time is just sand slipping through my fingers.

But, still, I am thankful. I'm thankful for the "walking along the road" that we have had the privilege of enjoying. Those walks have sometimes been tearful, sometimes celebratory. Sometimes, quiet and other times teaming with excitement. As I've walked with my two boys at my side, I've seen seasons change, in both the world around us and in their own lives.

For six years, we've enjoyed streams of conversations, sometimes serious, other times silly. I look back on these times with praise and joy, mixed with a dull ache. They are days I will never be able to reclaim, and I know that.

Yet, as we walk along the road with our children, no matter how short the journey, we should always remember that every minute is precious. Every second is a grain of sand that will quickly escape our grasp. Only God can hold them.

My challenge to each parent out there is to take advantage of the moments you have to "walk along the road" with your child.  Every conversation, no matter the content, is important. Make it count, make it a memory. And then, remember to thank God for them. Because, much like the fading light of a perfect day, they will too quickly be gone.


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