The last few years have been bittersweet for me. Three of our sons have graduated from our tiny school, two have married, and one of those "marrieds" has just become a daddy. As our sons have moved on, I've moved over. There's no stopping their progress nor the sudden speed with which their lives are changing. If I didn't move over, didn't make room for the changes taking place, didn't let go...if I would've clung to them in my need, I would've been trampled. They would've resented me and my clinging.
(Why is it so painful to let go as a mother, but so easy for a child to move on? Why doesn't it hurt them to grow up and leave the nest? )
Instead, I've learned, step by step, day by day, sometimes a minute at a time, to release them. To surrender them to the One who owns them anyway. I knew this day was coming the minute each of them left my body. There was a sorrow there even then. A tiny seed waiting for their firsts...their first meal that didn't come from the region of my chest; the first time they crawled away; their first steps toward something new. Each first watered the seed and the sorrow grew roots. But, surprisingly, that plant, the one I call Sorrow, is actually beautiful. Beauty with thorns. I love, love, love watching my sons from a distance. Watching as they learn how to become husbands, work on a house, figure out how to parent. I love watching them as they become men who love the Lord, and are striving to become what He wants them to be. That's the miracle of my life!
As they've taken their firsts and moved on, I've struggled...and wondered about my life. What now? Who and what am I if not a mother? What's my next step and where will it take me? I've thought, well, I'm taking up oxygen and space on this planet and I'm certainly not needed anymore.... (at least not for long; only 9 years left with Barrett....)
But then Sunday night the Lord handed me a gift. A hug. A new reason to stick around for awhile. My second son celebrated his first wedding anniversary Sunday night and we were allowed the incredible privelege of babysitting our new granddaughter. It was such a sweet few hours. I was able to hold and rock and cuddle that tiny person. We dozed together on the couch, our tummies pressed together, breathing almost in sync. She smelled amazing. Each tiny fingernail a miracle. I looked at her kissable little mouth, her large, beautiful eyes and felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude. Another small person to enjoy, to love, and then release. Another little person to pray for. I'm so thankful for this gift and I'm so looking forward to sharing oxygen and space on the planet with her, for however long the Lord gives me. I don't know if she'll ever need me, but it's a sweet gift just to be able to see her and watch her grow. I'm looking forward to her firsts and seeing who she'll become and what the Lord has planned for her. I've moved over and now I'm finding deep joy just watching from the sidelines.