There was a collision today. Excitement and sadness met up in a way like never before. When your baby grows up and leaves, when he follows God to find his way to soar on his own, it is quite the occurrence. What do we dream for our kiddos when they’re little? What are the deepest longings of our heart as a mama? What makes up the insides of a mama heart?
For them to be safe. For them to know they are loved. For them to learn, grow and flourish. To become all God created them to be. For them to be themselves and not try to be someone else. To one day be able to leave you, their mama. Hold on, a huge lump just formed in my throat. It’s hard to get these words out. Yes, one day we do want them not to need us but to venture out on their own and live and love and have adventures. To find their calling in life.
But the day it gets here you might find yourself screaming to yourself, “No, not yet! Can I have a little more time? Can we go back in time just for a little bit?” You may feel like you just want to curl up in a ball and cry and be sad because things are forever going to be different. Forever changed.
When the day gets here, you may realize, “I really like this person, and not because he is my child. I really like him and enjoy being around him.” It is not as if he doesn’t annoy you at times, make you angry, but you simply enjoy talking and being together like never before. The sight of him coming into his own before your very eyes is stunning and marvelous, a miracle of sorts, knowing some of the places you’ve both been.
Today is the day. My first born took flight, both literally and figuratively. He is in the sky as we speak on his way to Germany. He decided to take a gap year before college. We encouraged it as one of his options. But he alone was the one who decided. He was drawn to go overseas. I think it started in El Salvador, a country he grew to love after a couple of trips. He wants to explore ministry, specifically church and non-profit ministry.
And so I am left here in the States, far from my son. I feel like I am in the Twilight Zone. What just happened to me? Suddenly, and yet not so suddenly he is 18 and a gazillion miles away. This one, not long ago, had to be convinced to go to overnight camp 30 minutes away for a week.
A few of my friends texted me to tell me they were praying for my mama’s heart. Then two friends posted on social media, “praying for your mama’s heart.” Yes, my mama heart, my mama heart. This mama’s heart is filled to the brim with sadness it spills out at the slightest of memory or worry or ache.
Yet this mama’s heart is simultaneously filled with pride and anticipation to see and hear what will transpire, how her son will grow even more while away. It is all so much, too much at times.
A few nights leading up to this departure I found myself unable to sleep. Tossing and turning, wondering and questioning, “Will he be ok? How will he eat? Is he really ready? What am I forgetting? What haven’t I taught him? Told him? What if he needs us?”
Like the driver of a car gripping the wheel to stay steady in bad weather, in the middle of the night I grip the truths God has shown me. It is God who is in charge. I grip the grace of the past to take hold of the grace for these days. God has led me and helped me and met me and He will my son also. I grip the scripture I have tucked away in my heart. Our lives are not only for now and not only for us but for eternity and for others and for His kingdom. Also in this mama’s heart are the words and ideas learned along the road of these 18 years. My first mama friends and I figured out together the importance of seeking “first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.” My first mama friends and I discovered through both the joy and pain of mothering how sometimes we have no idea what we are doing but we can get to know the One who does.
So you will find this Mama holding her heart some days, unable to breathe as she thinks of her baby halfway across the world, sad for her and overwhelmed for him. But you will see her turning to God every time, learning new ways to breathe, trusting in the One who created that child. Learning to cling to God on this unknown path. When the way is dark she will remember the One to whom darkness is not dark. She will marvel at the One to whom the night shines like the day, knowing deep within it is God who holds her baby and her mama’s heart.