I need to pack tonight for a visit to Chicagoland tomorrow with Josh and Diane. We’re headed to Trinity International University in Deerfield for Josh’s first visit of a potential college. How time flies…Yesterday morning I walked into the bathroom and found him shaving. He’s a high school junior and has been doing that for a while, but the vision of it arrested me afresh.
I remember his birth, oh so well…I was leading the single adult ministry (30 and over) at Harvest Bible Chapel and had taken careful pains to find a speaker who could fill in, just in case Diane went into labor on or near our Friday ministry (known as Desert Streams). Wouldn’t you know it – she went into labor on a Friday. Rick Donald was ready to go; the problem was that I hadn’t taken care of the other details for the evening. So there we were in the delivery room, Diane going through labor pains, and I on the phone arranging for cookies and punch. In case you’re wondering, she has since forgiven me.
And then he was born: Glorious. Wonderful. Awesome. I recall walking around the hospital ward on Saturday morning, holding my day-old son, and introducing him to the sunrise. Those days were so full of joy…and sleeplessness. Welcome to parenting, Rog and Di – the greatest joy you’ll ever know coupled with the greatest…well, fill in the blank…worries, sacrifice, sleeplessness. Guess I said that last one already, but Josh wasn’t big on sleep in those days. He has since learned.
We named him Joshua Kendon, after one of my favorite personalities in the Bible and his two grandfathers (Ken Fenske and Don Knowlton). Diane’s dad got pride of first place because Donken didn’t have the same ring to it.
17 years…really? Where did they go? And college…that’s a place where the children of my friends go, not my own. My own children stay at home every evening to be read stories to and tucked into bed. My own children play hide and seek with me; we do “flips and tricks” in the living room. Other people may have children who leave home for weeks and months at a time. Not in the Knowlton household. Knowlton children do not have experiences apart from me. They do not make friends whose names I do not know. They are home, in my arms, and I am introducing them to the sunrise.
Except tomorrow…tomorrow is the day when I wake up and begin the process of introducing my son…to college.
March 29, 2012 at 6:01 am
Excellent musings of a dad who is learning to let go. Paul tells us we can learn to be content, so yes, I suppose this is equally difficult. “Visiting” college is nothing like leaving someone there…so you have a little time to learn….I’ll be praying for both you and Diane in this learning process!
March 30, 2012 at 9:06 pm
Thanks Mary! Appreciate your prayers for the learning process!
March 29, 2012 at 8:37 am
Beautiful description of the pulling of heartstrings on how quickly our children grow up. It’s something we always heard about from others, but in the thick of it, time passing so quickly didn’t seem like it would happen to us. Trinity Christian College is where I went to school at night to finish my bachelor’s degree which I started at the U of Iowa. I LOVED the school as I attended night classes while working at Arthur Andersen by day and single parenting my now 21 year old son. I wish your family joy and clarity as you make the college decision with Josh. How exciting!
March 30, 2012 at 9:08 pm
Thanks so much, Kelly! Is this the Trinity in Deerfield, or Palos Heights? We were visiting the one in Deerfield. Lots of kids from around here go to Palos Heights. Trinity in Deerfield is associated with my denomination. Hope you’re doing well!
March 29, 2012 at 9:59 am
Thank you as always for sharing, Roger! Time does fly. I feel like I was just off to college myself, and BOY was it tough for me to be away from home. After the first night at college, I told my parents I didn’t think I could handle it (they’d come back the next day, bringing more things to John and me). Of course they made me stay, and of course I loved college, but it was always tough to go back after being home again.
If you would’ve asked me if I thought I’d marry relatively young, move across the country for seminary, then across the ocean, I would’ve said absolutely not. Transitions are just hard. But, God has given me a lot of grace. It’s like my wonderful brother said to me when I was crying in his dorm room the first week living in Madison – you’ve got to rely on the Lord, Meggan. Read the Word.
I am so happy to tell you that I am still so very close to my parents. Pretty sure you already knew that. I consider them some of my closest friends, and we talk all the time. I’ll be praying for you in the midst of this transition!
March 30, 2012 at 9:13 pm
Hiya Meggan! Wow, I would like to send Josh off to a college where your brother (or you!) was already attending. I got super homesick at West Point (one of the reasons I quit). But no homesickness the following year at U of I – guess I was ready to go at that point in time. Appreciate your prayers – we’ve still got a year or so with him at home. He’s playing piano as background to our evening now – sometimes just improvises and it’s like…well, it’s really good. Do I sound like a dad?
March 29, 2012 at 11:06 am
expiernce teaches us things we have heard about but could never fully realize by the mere telling by someone else and life is very full of change upon change and some things leave us incredibly beautiful memories – Josh’s childhood is one of those for you – but there are many blessed memories to anticipate for what lies ahead. Enjoy each moment – they don’t come again . . . bittersweet – thanks for your sharing your precious heart!
March 30, 2012 at 9:16 pm
Hey Wenda – you said it – some things you can’t explain, like trying to tell someone what it’s like to lose a parent – you can’t do it. We do have many wonderful memories, and are planning to make some more in days to come, even after he heads off to college. Thanks!
March 29, 2012 at 5:50 pm
A new chapter in your lives, it’s exciting and as the other replys have stated, bittersweet. Thank you for sharing your heart once again. For those of us that “have been there-done that” it’s a time to reflect on our journies and be thankful for the blessings and to be thankful for the, not so blessed times. Because of this we can know just how to pray for you and Diane. When that time comes you’ll be joining the ranks of the “Letting Go” parents. “Letting Go” to college, “Letting Go” to marriage, “Letting Go” to parenthood, “Letting Go” to the military. All the “Letting Goes” are a time for leaning on our Lord more and more and because Christ is the Head of your home, I think you’ll all do just fine. Congrats on the journey/.
March 30, 2012 at 9:17 pm
Letting go, huh? Guess you’re right, JoAnn – letting go means leaning! Thanks for your thoughts!
March 30, 2012 at 10:56 am
Well, Josh is such a grounded, neat kid that I would think making smart decision making would be second nature to him. I know how proud you and Diane must be of him.
March 30, 2012 at 9:18 pm
Thank you for your kind comments, Jean! We are very proud of him.
April 1, 2012 at 9:55 pm
Wow…do I feel old(er)!! Seems like yesterday when I remember Diane bringing him to Desert Streams for the first time!
May the Lord direct you and Joshua as to what college to attend.
April 15, 2012 at 7:25 am
rather than “it isn’t so… I will respond “it is good…”
hanging on to the promises of….Prov. 22:6 and Isaiah 55:11. Walking this same road. Julia is soon to be a Senior at Wheaton College, it looks like Laura is of to either Univ Wisc Madison or Univ Minn – Twin Cities ,and Andrew begins as a Junior at Fondy High this fall….
April 15, 2012 at 4:06 pm
Yeah, I know you’re right. It would be a bad deal if it happened any other way, huh? – that is, if our kids decided that they didn’t want to leave the nest, etc. I just like having them around, that’s all.
May 10, 2012 at 12:59 pm
We are a few years away from this experience, but I’ve already thought about it and appreciated this post!! At this point, Will thinks it will be cool to grow up and move in next door… I know that will most likely not last!! 🙂
May 10, 2012 at 2:26 pm
Well, you’re right, Annie, but enjoy the days while they are here. It’s amazing how incredibly fast Josh has transformed into the young man who stands before me. Thanks for the words!