Mom. That’s my name. Or at least it has been for the past two decades or so. Room mom, team mom, soccer mom, cheer mom. And the guy I married 25 years ago? He’s Dad. Homework dad, Boy Scout dad, Little League dad, hockey dad. But recently, our baby daughter, the last of our three kids, did the unthinkable; she went ahead and grew up just like her big brother and sister.
Of course, it’s what we hope for, strive for, and pray for as parents, that our children one day head out into the world, forge their own paths, and discover what God has for them. But when the kids left, so did two titles we loved, two roles we cherished, for the vast majority of our married life. Mom and Dad. Yesterday they were running around the house in footie pajamas asking for more TV time; today they’re big people earning college diplomas, seeking career advancement, and checking out wedding rings. As exciting as it is, it’s also left us a bit confused. Who are we now?
We’re cheerleaders. Not that we didn’t root for our kids before, but we also had to be coach, manager, and referee—blowing that whistle as we reprimanded, penalized, and directed. Now, as we watch three young adults make their own decisions, it is from a distinctly different point of view. Gratefully, they still ask for our advice, but we support them from the sideline. And boy are my pom-poms getting a lot of use. “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
We’re helpmates. During the mommy and daddy years, praise God we never stopped loving each other. But we didn’t always put each other first, not by a long shot. It was a mutual decision; we were both all in when we started a family. But how fun it is to be husband and wife again! We haven’t dated, talked, or spent time together like this since we were newlyweds. We hike together. We bought bikes. We plan trips. And we are putting one another first again. “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves” (Ecclesiastes 4:12).
We are children of God. This one’s my favorite. Our world has changed drastically, but His love for us hasn’t skipped a beat. No matter what season we leave behind or the unknown territory that lies ahead, God’s promises remain. His plans are sovereign. His grace is sufficient. His Word is true. As many times as a title or role will change in our lives, with a new job, a change of address, or growing relationships, nothing can ever take away the identity that matters for eternity. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
Nowadays, when the house feels a little too quiet, when we miss our identities of yesterday, we rest in the fresh opportunities and new adventures that different roles and titles can bring. And there’s nothing confusing about that.