This Christmas will be the first without all three boys home with the family. Our oldest is in Australia and will be spending his ten days off to see the land down under.

I had known this day would come when we were not all in the same place on Christmas morning. Our family has been blessed for many years to all be together; many wishes became a reality. The memories can bring some sadness if we focus on the missing experience without the missing family member. Our wishes for Christmas may not be the same as past years.

Our Christmas wish list as parents change as children get older and their lives take them far from us. Instead of losing the joy of the season because we are not all together let’s choose to see the blessings we have throughout the year. Rewrite your Christmas list this year thinking about your young adult children.

Ask older kids to give a call more often if it is sparse. Be happy with what they can offer in calls. Our boys call us frequently. It may be 6 am for the oldest calling from the land down under but we are overjoyed to answer. Answering the call is a big reach for me as I am NOT a morning person. Thank you, Lord, they still call.

When we ask open-ended questions, our young adults will share about their lives. Let’s pray they don’t share everything. When they do share, we are thankful for the information they care to give. Be careful not to give advice when they share, unless they ask. Painful to do, yes, but necessary. Over time they will share more, trusting your listening skills.

Laugh together. Sometimes it is laughing at each other but laugh. Arguments can also happen, but in the end, talk, forgive, laugh.

Pray for them. Pray with all your might that they seek God to lead and guide them through the years ahead. Then pray some more.

The hubby and I are very proud of our boys. They are not perfect. They don’t go to church like we wished they would. They hang out with hoochies (any girl that is after my boys are hoochies). We are proud of the men they are.

We did a great job with these boys. We failed, and we have regrets as parents. They survived somehow. Moving forward into being their safe place to land is our goal.

Early this week our pantry and fridge will be full. By the end of the week, there will be empty spots in both. When they go back to their respective cities, our wallets will be a bit lighter, and our laundry room filled with towels and sheets.

Our parenting Christmas list is fulfilled. It is full of the joy of raising our children even though at times our hearts have been broken, our anger has raged and our mistakes have piled on top of mistakes. Filled with joy and love for these children the Lord trusted to us and we look forward to being a part of their young adult lives.

At Christmas time we celebrate the greatest gift God gave us, in his son, Jesus. The next greatest gift was trusting us with the three children we now call men.

Be blessed this Christmas season and embrace the year ahead fulfilling the Christmas list of parenting young men and women.

What does your Christmas wish list look like this year? Can we hold each other accountable this year to fulfill the Christmas wish list of young adult children? Did your parents hold a list over your head as a young adult? Or did they let you be?