Do you know how many times Iíve said, ďAre you kidding? I canít WAIT until these kids are all out of the house! The cooking, the cleaning, the sassing? I wonít miss it at all!Ē

 

Approximately 7,476 times.

 

Do you know how many times Iíve been a liar, liar, pants on fire?

 

Approximately 7,476 times.

 

The last two weeks have been a roller coaster of emotions as a majority of my children are having big, grown up milestones. My house is quickly moving from utter chaos, full-to-the-brim day and night, to orderly, quiet and tidy. Iím not sure how I feel about it. Itís transition time at the Linneís, and it hurts my heart. I was born to be a mama, you guys.

 

Cases in point:

 

The 19 year old in Ohio moved out of the dorms and into her own place. And she had plans, and opinions, about the sorts of things she needed for said house. (The horror!) Then she had the nerve to text me photos of her meal prep for the week Ė she has meals, with vegetables I kid you not, all portioned out and in containers. Like an actual grown up. When she told me she wipes down the toilet every day just like I asked her to, I shed a tear. Not to mention, she manages to make the Deanís List every semester without me breathing down her neck and threatening holy hell on her weekend plans. Itís discombobulating, people.

 

The 22 year old, who just a few years ago was at risk of living with us forever, moved into her own place this week. Blind? Whatever. Sheís cooking and taking new bus routes and planning a weekend get together with friends. Theyíre taking the bus into town. She is a favorite at work. And sheís not sad about leaving me. Sheís excited, for the love of Jesus.

 

And the 17 year old started her senior year of high school today. I might mention that as a toddler (yesterday), she needed 30 minutes in my arms each time she woke up where not a single solitary person except for me was allowed to look at her lest she burst into tears. And now she has the nerve to be a statuesque blonde with an extroverted personality bigger than mine, and a brain that thinks terrible thoughts like, ďIím going out of state for college because I donít want to be stuck here forever.Ē Here being where your MOMMY is, darling child. Itís like the Universe said, hereís a sweet, quiet baby that will want to stay with you forever! Oh, just kidding! Sheís actually a goddess and wants you to micromanage her zero percent of the time, so loosen that grip, Mama.

 

Do you know how many times where Iíve cursed myself for giving up alcohol? Times where Iíve needed to breathe into a bag to keep from hyperventilating and run screaming to the foster care office to ask for more young children this week?

Approximately 7,476 times. (And thatís not a joke people; itís still under serious consideration.)

 

How many times has holding my breath and throwing a fit helped me in big transitions?

 

Approximately 0 times.

 

So how does one move through gracefully and come out the other side in one piece? Iím actually not sure, cause Iím still a little pissed and not really on speaking terms with God.† He gives children to you long enough for you to actually start liking them, and then he gives them a vision for their futures. But, I think it has something to do withÖ.

 

Breathing.

There was this one time while riding my horse (okay, fine, there are LOTS of times while riding my horse) that as I ready myself for a transition to a faster gait, I tense up my legs, hold my breath, tighten my arms, and mutter ďcanterĒ through clenched teeth. You can imagine that my horse doesnít take very kindly to that and things get pretty ugly. Horses like when you breathe and laugh while youíre riding. Breathing gets to the heart of our survival. Breathing results in loosening up, and who ever had a problem with someone who could laugh and lighten up a bit? All problems begin to seem workable when we actually have O2 in our brains.

 

Planning my moves.

In yoga, transitioning from one posture to another is the most important part of the practice. Itís where balance, focus, and strength are built. I have to plan and visualize where my foot will land, or Iíll fall out of balance. Carefully considering what needs to be done next can take away some of the worry and fear out of transition times.

 

Being open to what life has for me next.

While Iím still pretty serious about this foster care thing, Iím also wondering how long I can put off the inevitable. Eventually, I will have a (GULP) empty nest.

 

What does life have for us after transitions? When all weíve ever known comes to a close, do we fight that? Or do we open our eyes, our hands, our hearts, and welcome whatís next?

 

I happen to know dozens of kiddos at my therapeutic riding center that count on me every week to lift them onto the back of a horse and charm them into learning some life skills. Is that nothing? Was it a coincidence that I fell into that a few years ago? Or is it the next something I need to turn my eye toward? Is it the next great iteration of me? If I am too busy fighting this passing stage of life, I might miss the exit for what comes next.

 

Itís hard, Iím not gonna lie. I wish I could petition Jesus to just stop the damn clock for a minute, or at least slow it down until I can catch my breath. But as I consider the beautiful, passionate, responsible girls I have raised (and the very adolescent-ey adolescent I still have), I am filled with gratefulness and excitement for the future.

 

I just need to keep breathing and easing my way into it.

 

What transitions are you experiencing? How are you handling it? Iíd love to hear from you.