It’s A New Season

Tuesday morning marked the next step in the parenting process for our family. Jonathan officially left home to start his life in his own place. Seeing him off at the beginning of the academic year is not a new phenomenon. We’ve done this annually for the past six years. First, we drove him to Hampton, Virginia where our little boy started his undergraduate studies at Hampton University. I cried for two weeks prior to that fateful day and two weeks afterwards. And every year we have had a new milestone and more tears – from the first time we allowed him to take the car back and drive alone to moving into apartments, being crowned Mr. Hampton etc. Then we took him to Pennsylvania where he started his masters at Penn State.

But there is something very different about this academic year. Jonathan is starting his first, post-graduate school, professional job. He’s the new Assistant Director of Multicultural Affairs at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem. He seems so young but we were married and I was pregnant with him when I was Jonathan’s age so I know he’s not a little boy. But this mother’s heart is filled with conflict. On the one hand, I am so proud of Jonathan. He’s a wonderful young man, intelligent, kind and saved! I know he’s going to do a great job at Wake Forest and I know that God is going use him in amazing ways. On the other hand, my baby is gone. This summer is likely the last summer we will have with all of us at home. And that breaks my heart even while I rejoice to see him prosper. Oh that I could turn back the hands of time every now and then and have that little boy who once sat on my lap, hugged my neck and gave me big wet sloppy kisses. To see the boy who used to do flips over anything that he could climb on, every now and then, would be a joy. But, would I trade the joys of seeing him leave home a boy and come back home a bit closer to being a man? Or would I trade seeing him walk across the stages at Hampton or Penn State to have degrees conferred with honor? Would I miss the times we sit in the kitchen talking? It’s all good. I have the blessed assurance that God is holding the future of my little boy/man child in his hands and that God will keep that which I have committed to him. And make no mistake about it, Jonathan was committed to the Lord when he was a baby and repeatedly over the years as he grew up. So, I let my tears of joy and sorrow mingle as I look forward to what will be.

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10 Responses

  1. Enjoy it all, Larry. Time passes ‘in the twinkling of an eye.’ And as the scripture teaches, to whom much is given much is required. You and Anika are truly blessed, in multiple ways. And with each of those blessings comes that difficult responsibility, the one that brings joy and sweet sorry. I’m truly confident in your abilities! I’m blessed to be your friend.

  2. Donna and Gerald,

    I am so grateful to God for allowing the two of you to come into me and my families life 10 years ago. Reading your reflections confirmed that God don’t make no mistakes. As for Jonathan, what a pleasure to have watched a mature teenager grow into such a fine young man. Jonathan, I am so proud of you that words can’t express what an inspiration you and your parents have giving me and Anika to look forward to with our sons. Go on, like your mother said and dream into reality the engravement of your title Dr. Jonathan M. Cox, President of whatever University you so desire.
    Congrats, May God continue to bless and keep you and your family in good spirits and perfect peace.

  3. This is a time of making choices that reflect values. I do not mean values as in the sense of one thing being morally right and another being wrong. I mean that this is a time of making choices about what you VALUE – at this point in time. Your move to Chicago reflects such a value. It is right to pursue your education, to pursue a life in a new place. In doing so, you make a choice to leave behind certain people and places. The trick will be trying to maintain two VALUES that seem to pull you in different directions. You need to be fully present in this new walk. At the same time, you recognize in a more adult way how critical family and friends are. And in order to not leave them emotionally and spiritually behind you will need to find that delicate balance to which I allude. And, make no mistake, Garry, it is difficult to do. At the same time, from the vantage of point of half-a-century (oh my gosh, is it true) I can tell you that absolutely nothing will have more meaning to you in the long run than growing the relationships with people who love you, support you and care about you.

  4. After reading some of these comments, it provides new perspective of what a parent feels during this very transient time. I, since graduation from high school, have wanted to leave the ‘nest’ and pursue my dreams and aspirations; with the full encouragement of my parents. But as I get older, and arguably wiser (read my blog), I wonder about those moments that I have NOT spent with those who have had nothing but my best interests in full view. Seasons change. And my parents as well as I, over time, have become accustom to that fact. Having moved from riding to school on the bus, to driving; to leaving high school for college Indiana, and now graduate school in illinois — my parents are well versed with this joyous sadness . But as I start out in big city, where the university is not the center, on an unpredictable, predictably longer journey — I feel different.

    My concern is not that fact that change is natural. But does change mean moving closer to something or farther away? I hope to, in the coming years, while my physically distance changes, change my relationship with all of my family and friends in to one that is much more close and meaningful.

  5. you are NOT an uninvited member of the Cox Family. You are a FULL member. Don’t I always tell you what to do? I used to be your second Mom until you got old. Then I became your older sister!

  6. Ok, sorry. I’ve been on the verge of tears for a variety of reasons this morning, and this sent me over the edge.

    As an honorary uninvited member of the Cox family, I have had the honor to be associated with a family of greatness. While it could be possible for someone to be overwhelmed at watching two loving and devoted parents raise two remarkable adults, to me it has been an example what is possible when you trust God and decide to try your best to infuse Him in every aspect of your children’s lives.

    Now that I am a mother to my own little prince (and princess) I can’t imagine observing the fruition of years of hard work, prayers, dedication, long nights, loved-filled fights and proud moments. (And G and D, I know while how it plays out will change, you will always be parent.)

    Jonathan, I take this opportunity to tell you that I too am proud of you. What you are doing is not easy. Thank you for being an example (even to my Benjamin) how to have fun, do the work, and become a man who loves God in your own right. You give me hope.

    I’ll continue to watch in admiration.

    Daria

  7. i’ll write after i am done profusely crying!

  8. As Jonathan drove off the morning of August 5, I was struck with a profound sense of sadness and loss. I felt foolish as I cried off and on for most of the morning. Along with the joy I felt because he was traveling to Wake Forest University to take his first real job, I felt sorrow knowing that he was crossing a threshold unlike the times he left to go to Hampton and Penn State for his studies. It is highly unlikely that he will return for an extended stay during Thanksgiving, Christmas and summer breaks, because this time he left home to start his own life…a life apart from his family.

    Now I know how my parents must have felt as each of their children left home (me being the first), one by one, to begin a life apart from the nuclear family they had known for so many years. Before Jonathan drove away that morning I had not given much thought to how my parents felt about their babies leaving the nest – it must have been difficult. Now I know.

    God has been preparing me for this time for twenty-four years, but the years have passed much more quickly than I could have imagined back when my son used to fit neatly on my chest as we napped during his infancy. There is no way I could have known that when he sat wide-eyed on my lap watching NCAA basketball tournament games late into the night as a toddler that I would be watching him drive away so soon. As my son grew, excelling academically and socially, maturing into the fine young man he has become, God was reminding me that He gave him to his mother and me for such a time as this. I just didn’t realize how soon that time would be upon us.

    I could not ask for a finer son. I am as proud of him as any father has ever been of any son. He has done well and I am confident he will continue to do so. He is blessed of God and highly favored, and my life is richer because of him. My prayer is that his Heavenly Father will continue to prosper him and that he will know, without a doubt, how much his earthly father loves him.

  9. This is one of the sweetest things I’ve read.

    I’ll let you in on a secret. I have the same feelings that you have. I often wonder whether or not I will be revealed as inept, ignorant. But you know what? We are more than conquerors through Christ. Certainly, under our own power we ARE inept. But we can do all things through Christ. So, my darling son, go ahead and picture Dr. Jonathan M. Cox, President engraved on some University door.

  10. I’ve always found interesting the different perspectives that make a whole picture. I think it’s becoming easier to see things from other people’s points of view as I get older. I’ve always wanted to get out on my own, have my own life, take my own journey. But as I got older, and I realized the different directions my journey might pull me in, I started to realize the conflict that was building inside of me as well. I’ve alway longed for more than what I had- not so much because I was ungrateful, but more so I believe because I know God’s promise for me, and I want it. But now my journey has pulled me away from my family, at least physically. It’s hard to make these choices, knowing that also as I have grown older the importance of family has grown within me. I think I experience that same conflict, wanting to be close to home and with my family but at the same time needing to stretch my wings and go for what I’ve always wanted.

    I too felt a difference between my previous departures from the house and this time. In every time before, I knew I was coming back. This time, it really hit me that I was moving…starting my life in another place, for however long that may last. And this time it is not guarenteed- I may be here a year…two or three…or many more. It’s a hard reality to swallow at times. When I look at myself in the mirror I see a boy still, a little kid. I don’t feel like an adult. But I know I am. I have a job. A real one, where people will look to me to be the expert, to be the problem-solver. Am I ready? I do not know. I worry every day that I will be revealed as a fake, someone who is all talk but doesn’t know anything e’s talking about. I worry that the people at Wake Forest will wonder, “Why in the world did we hire this person?” But I try to take comfort in the knowledge that I DO know what I am talking about, I am competent, and have always been blessed with success….
    …and I was raised by the most wonderful and amazing parents anyone could have asked for. Raised in such a way that it is recognized by everyone I encounter. That I have been taught, and taught well, how to be a man.

    Even as my journey leads me away from those who know me best, I will never forget nor take for granted those who have made me who I am today:

    Donna and Gerald Cox

    My parents.

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