GatherFive-Minute-Friday: the group of writers who gather together every Thursday night or during the day Friday to grab an assigned word and write. Not a book. A 5-minute, unedited piece of your life, your dreams and your truth.

If you had asked me, ten years ago, to write about the word GATHER, I would have written of all the neighborhood children who daily gather in my yard to laugh, yell, climb, slide, play and fight together outside my open window. I would have written about the wonderful youth gatherings to sing praise songs around a fire, or swim under a bridge or hike up a mountain. I would have written about my three children gathering for prayer in the evening. I might have written about how tired I was of “gathering” and how ready I was for a moment of privacy and how I couldn’t even find that moment in the bathroom as little fingers would creep under the door or a knock would be followed by, “Mommy, what’cha doin’?” I would definitely have written about the every-once-in-a-while gathering on our bed. All five of us piled on one queen size bed talking and laughing until someone fell off.

If you follow the link back to Five-Minute-Friday, you’ll find lots of author/moms who are writing along just that theme. But not me.

I am looking forward to gathering my children together for rare family-time this weekend. My oldest has two more tests today and then she’s headed home from college for her spring break. My other two have been giving me updates as to exactly how much time until their spring break (currently, we are at 4 hours and 30 minutes until pure joy).

I’m not at that gathering time of life—I’m at that “letting go” time of life. My oldest is planning to travel to some far away country next year and live there for the year. She hasn’t decided where yet and that is part of our spring break plan. Does she have a CLUE how hard it is to plan for your child to be so very far away? (Well, she sometimes takes time from studies to read my posts). My next child is job shadowing soon and receives daily mail from universities across the United States wanting her brilliant test scores to be a part of their institution. She’s working away at a summer camp in two months. My youngest, my baby boy, is lobbying for a driver’s permit and I’m well aware that this may be the last summer I have anyone at home with me.

My friends have children getting married and graduating from college and declaring their independence in myriad ways. I pray for them all, the children and the parents. Because frankly, as a parent, it’s so much more fun to gather than to let go!

But (swallow hard here) letting go is how I raised them. I’m glad my daughter wants to challenge herself and is doing well in college, I’m satisfied that my daughter is searching hard for the right career path for her and I’m proud that my boy has raised his grades in the pursuit of a driver’s permit (bribery on my part—oh yeah).

I hate the lack of control, the teenage angst, the hormone issues, the finding-yourself issues and the fight for independence. But I have to value the growth. Because that’s the stage we’re at.

In the meantime, I look forward to the inevitable pile-up on my bed this weekend, when all my big kids are gathered at home and we’ll talk and laugh until someone falls off.