Too Much To Bear In The BEST Of Ways

This is Owen. He started school today like millions of other kids, but I can’t believe it. There is so much I need to get done today, but I’m completely distracted by the fact that this kid started SCHOOL today. KINDERGARTEN. At the same school where his mom teaches. I got to see his new lunchbox yesterday at church.  Robert had a FaceTime prayer with him this morning before he headed out for the day.  For the last couple of months my conversations with people at church have included the random, out-of-the-blue question “Did you know that Owen is starting KINDERGARTEN this fall?”  I haven’t been able to help it. Some of them politely indulge my incredulity.  Others are as incredulously happy as I am.
You see, his parents were UMass students just yesterday, it seems. They used to babysit our little ones.  His dad even made a trip to the ER with our kids once. They eventually got engaged and married.  Together they did more babysitting of the little Krum kiddos. (They even took them camping once.  And once was enough.)
Then they had their own kiddo…

 And after that they had another one. And then somehow mine got old enough to babysit for THEIR children…

I really don’t know how all of this happened.

I may be more overwhelmed and sentimental about Owen going to Kindergarten than I have been about the growing-up-and-going-places that is happening in my own home.  It’s a weird feeling and I love it.

So yeah, one of the Krum kids whom Owen’s parents used to babysit is now a JUNIOR IN COLLEGE. (Which means that he is now OLDER than Owen’s parents were when we first met them.) First semester in the new, beautiful Baylor Business School. My dad and I, along with help from my sis and niece, got him all moved into a house off campus which he shares with two roommates. (A house nicer and bigger than mine, I might add. Cabinets, and counter space, and bathrooms, oh my!)

 I was certainly not eager to leave him after our days of shopping and unpacking and eating out, but there were no tears.  He’s doing so well, surrounded by great friends, professors, becoming a real leader on campus, and serving God and others in many ways. I couldn’t be happier for him.  I couldn’t be more proud.  But I’m praying like crazy for a year of really tough classes and lots of leadership responsibilities.

 And now it’s this kid’s turn…

This pic was taken at church yesterday when the pastor called him up front to properly send him out.  Cooper has been a part of the church since it began 16 years ago. (He didn’t really have any choice in the matter, I guess.) He was 2 years old when we came to start it. (You know, those years when Owen’s parents were his age.) Now he’s 18, a high school graduate, and on his way to what I truly believe will be an incredible year of growth and adventure in southern California. I don’t know if I’ve ever prayed for anyone more than I have for this kid, and that will continue as he leaves home and steps into a fresh, new independence. It’s time, and I’m really excited for him.
He even performed all of his own original music and lyrics in a special concert last night along with two friends he regularly “jams” with. There was a nice-sized crowd, and there may have been a few tears over this.  I knew he was creative, and I hear him playing guitar in his room every day, but it was a joy to see it all come together, and watch him pull off something he’s passionate about.

I teach all day tomorrow, (Owen’s dad will bring me a microscope to borrow for my classroom soon and for the third year in a row) and then Coop and I leave for the airport around 4am on Wednesday. We land in Palm Springs around 5pm. I return on a red-eye early next Tuesday morning.

I’ll have two young men out of the house.

My little baby 15-year-old girl will be an only child, sort of.

It will be Owen’s second week of Kindergarten.

I didn’t really grow up “in community.” We weren’t really a part of a church.  My parents didn’t have a close network of friends. So this whole “life together” concept was new to me when we began this marriage and ministry thing 25 or so years ago.

I’ve learned that there can be many heartaches and disappointments when you live in close community with people. It’s no different in the community of the church. (And those often feel more difficult to recover from.) But long term friendships, the stages of life on display, weddings, meals together, babies being born, kids going off to college, and OWEN GOING TO KINDERGARTEN are just the BEST.

It’s too much to take in, and I thank God for that today.