A Beautiful Ache

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This is the boy who made me a mama. He is turning 18 soon. When I think about how these years have come and gone so very quickly I feel a flood of emotion- pride, fear, nostalgia, happiness, sadness….sometimes, on mornings when the house is quiet and my first born is sleeping upstairs, I pretend. That he is still little. Not yet on the brink of flying away to college and adulthood. I drift back to years when it seemed like I would be mothering forever. To days when I marked time in lunches packed, homework checked and bedtime routines followed. Simple, albeit busy days. They were training years. Holding tight to my grip on this boy- giving him room to learn but not enough to really fall. These were praying years- for wisdom, for patience, for protection from sin and harm. They were full days, often lived with overflowing joy tainted by worry.

Am I doing this right Lord? Will he grow up to love You Lord? Will I survive letting go one day?

Now I am in the letting go years. Holding by barely connecting fingertips. Watching him learn and grow and succeed and fail- by himself. It is an amazing thing to watch a child grow up before you into a man, so strange and new in form and voice and style, yet still seeing the boy in time lapse memories as I watch familiar expressions and mannerisms in his coming and going.

Oh Motherhood, you strange and wonderful and bittersweet Task! You ask me to pour my entire being into someone for 18 years; love and pray and slay dragons and bear burdens on their behalf. Then one day, every ounce of that love and preparation crescendos into not more, but less,  as I watch them embrace Adulthood with all it’s shiny promises of independence and excitement. Oh how it hurts, but it’s good. This is not surviving a war or disease or other such tragedy. This is letting go, like the end of the most beautiful sunset or watching perfect flame red leaves fall off the sugar maple or the masterpiece you painted walk out of the gallery with a new owner. It wrecks you but in the best possible way.

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