I gasped…I wiped my eyes.
Maybe I wasn’t seeing clearly.
I blinked hard to get new clarity…I still saw the same thing, two blue lines.
I was pregnant.
I was shocked…EXCITED!!!…scared…HAPPY!!!…afraid…EXSTATIC!!!!
I was going to be a mama! Honestly, for as long as I can remember it was all I ever wanted to be was a mom. I wanted a mess o’ kids following after me, and now it seemed that the start of that dream was happening.
I was 38 weeks pregnant and the day had come to meet this baby, the one I was waiting for. I arrived at 7 am. They said I would probably deliver in the middle of the next night, expecting a 20 hour labor. I wasn’t waiting that long to see my little one! No way!
At 12:45 pm I was pushing.
He was in my arms, all wet and beautiful. My firstborn, my love, my treasure. I had never held anything that beautiful. I had never done anything that fullfilling. I was right, this mom thing was ALL I ever wanted. That first moment of holding my little one could never be measured. I didn’t want that feeling to end.
We were walking across The Home Depot parking lot. Our little man, just able to walk, was toddling next to us. I remember his outfit, little Levi’s, a new polar fleece hoodie, and little blue and white Nike’s. Can you say, stinkin’ cute? A woman with two teenagers was approaching us, passing the other way. She looked at my little buddy, looked at her own son, and said, “Enjoy him now. Pretty soon they grow up and turn into a pain in the #**!” Ouch! How terrible for that boy to hear that! I remember that my husband and I looked at each other with pain and determination in our eyes. An unspoken commitment…our children would be enjoyable, even as teens. We would never speak those words over them…no talk of the Terrible 2’s or the Rebellious Teens. We would expect more and we would love them deeper.
He was 5. Handsome. Friendly. Lovable. He called me Mama. Smart as a whip…he was reading and writing and doing school from our little dining room table. The snow started to fall. We stretched over the back of the couch and watched it accumulate outside from our bay window. He couldn’t wait to play in it! And so we stopped what we were doing and we played.
He’s 14. For the first time since, well, forever, he is going to school. We sit in the parking lot because we are 15 minutes early. I keep asking if he really wants to go. “Are you sure?” “You don’t have to go!” “We can just keep schooling at home.” But he was ready. The 9th grade school year would be different for him and me. But it was time. He opened the door, nervously put on his backpack, and smiled at me.
“I love you, mama,” he said.
I smiled back, told him I loved him and off he went. Then I sat in the parking lot and cried my eyeballs out, praying and hoping I wasn’t making a mistake.
But isn’t that what moms do? Don’t we fret and worry and wonder if every decision we make with our children will be a wrong one? Will be screw them up? Will they become that rebellious teen because of a decision we made that altered their course? Will they survive our raising?
“Mom, she said yes!” He found his first love. How do you react to that? I wondered how I would feel when this day came, when he gave his heart to someone. Would I like her? Would I approve? Is he too young? I remember how my mom loved my brother’s girlfriends and welcomed them with open arms. She made them feel safe and loved. I hope I do that. I hope I make her feel welcome. But God’s grace shines on and He shows us how to love another and our family grows.
The day is here and he’s leading his class down the aisle as graduates. He’s so proud. His father and I beam. He hugs me tight and says, “I love you mama!”
I breath a sigh if relief that he made it…that we did you the right thing with his education, that we made the right choices for him. But I also knew that this day meant that soon he would be leaving. But we have the WHOLE summer, right?
I wake with a start. We can’t hide from the dawning of the day. The day is here and we must face it. We pack the trucks. We do the next thing. We do the next thing. We breathe. I hold my emotions in as best I can. The two-hour drive goes fast, but we have the whole day together, right?
We moved him in. We attended meetings. We toured the campus. We took a few minutes alone as a family and enjoyed the beauty of this amazing campus.
And then the day was gone and we were standing by the car and the moment I had been dreading was there and we couldn’t ignore it. He hugged his brother and told him he loved him. He hugged his other brother and asked him to care for his dog for him. He hugged his sister and told her how amazing she was. He hugged his dad and his dad told him how amazing he was and how proud he was. They all piled in the car and there we stood, my boy and I. He nestled in my arms and I held him tight. I tried to utter words, but instead I just tried to breathe. I told him I loved him, trusted him and was so proud.
“I love you, mama.”
He turned and headed for his dorm. In the darkness I watched his silhouette walk across the parking lot to the lighted stairwell. He headed up the steps…
I blinked…and he was gone.
I’ve done the best I know how to raise this boy into a man of God. Now it’s God’s turn to chisel.