Confessions of a Google Mapping Mama

Google MapsSo yesterday I found myself Google mapping H.E.B. grocery stores near the University of Houston campus. I was planning ahead to our upcoming drop off visit to move Russel in and the limited amount of time I would have to help him get his room set up, shop for those last-minute items and stock his fridge, among other things. As I pondered these mom of a soon-to-be college student thoughts, I realized I had to be strategic with where we shopped. I couldn’t just GPS grocery stores on the spot – what if we went to the worst one nearby… or one with a horrible selection? A good, clean grocery store where products are actually what we eat and are easy to find is important! So it hit me – I should Google map the stores near the campus now. I found four stores close to the school and scrolled through each location’s customer comments.

Here are a few reviews straight off their sites —

“This store is a black eye on the HEB company. Rotten fruit. Long lines. Terrible selection. Awful customer service.”

“Ghetto store…no meat variety….all the pork u can want!”

” I guess you could say that I’m an HEB aficionado or whatever. My official, expert opinion on this one: It’s pretty dope. Extensive produce, helpful staff, nice bakery….”

With that last one, I thought – “Ding, Ding – we have a winner!” All the reviews I read for that site were equally glowing. That was the one I’d point him to!

My next thought was I should take him with me so he could see where it is, and then hopefully when he has to go alone for the first time he won’t get lost. You see, my son is amazingly directionally challenged. Truth be told – I’ve never met a person who could so easily lose sight of which way to go to reach your destination. When he entered middle school, he bravely asked if he could ride his bike to school. We were so proud! “Of course,” we said! And then when he asked where he turned to get there, we hung our heads. After all those years of driving by it daily — he still didn’t realize the school is on our street. There is no turn to get there.. you just go straight.. all the way.. until you reach the school.

And this is the dear child we are about to send to college. I know I’m probably being somewhat of a helicopter mom. It could be said I’m over preparing to prepare him and help him be ready for being on his own. I can’t help it though. Years from now I bet he’ll look back on it all and laugh. Who knows, he could already be doing that now when I’m not around – wise boy that he is!

The thing is – my son can never doubt my love for him. While the ways I show it may sometimes be slightly off track – the heart behind it all is good! And then I know, when we pull away and head back to Austin, he will figure these things out. He will find his own place to shop. He will find his favorite hang outs and I bet he’ll find a way to get to them with out much difficulty thanks to Google maps on his phone and he can always ask the people around him. I just want to know I did everything I could do to ready him. Because I know, there will be enough surprises, enough moments of having to figure things out with out our help. When those moments come, I know we have prepared him in the best possible way. He knows where to go for this one. He knows to go to God. He can ask anything. And God will help him navigate through. I bet, he could even help him find his way when he feels lost.

Yes, my son is in good hands. And of course, he can always call home.

Amy O’Donnell

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Letting Go

2013-12-02 16.02.42There are some things we just can’t comprehend fully until we walk through them —

The way it feels to hold your child in your arms…

The joy of seeing him or her take their first steps and call you by name…

The emotions on the first day of school…

The feelings as they approach graduation…

This last one I am approaching quickly. I can’t believe it’s almost here. It seems like just yesterday I experienced all the other firsts. Time goes so fast. I’ve talked about it in my messages on parenting – every stage is strategic in preparing my kids to send them out into the world and hit their mark – the mark God created them to make on this earth. I believe our children are our arrows, as it says in Psalm 127:4,

Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.

God has great plans for each and every one of them and He entrusts them to us to shape, mold and release. The release part after shaping – is not easy. I’ve seen other mom’s walk through this season. I am now that mom feeling the emotions of letting go. The release moment is here. I wonder, have I done enough? Have I taught Him enough?

As I am working on letting go, he’s already pulling away. That’s good. That’s natural. That’s what should happen. And as I grieve I tell him I want him to go and take on the world. He is excited. I am excited for him. I can’t wait to see what this new season holds for him. It brings me great joy to see his interests and goals take shape and to watch him pursue them with enthusiasm.

I am so thankful for mom’s in my world I can reach out to and talk through letting go. I’ve let go of toxic relationships, I’ve let go of people who’ve passed on from this world, but not one of my own into their future. That is – until now – Here we go! If you are a mom who’s been through this season, what are some things you did well? What would you recommend to other moms? What did you do for your kids that made an impact as you prepared them for what’s next?

Amy