It was a crisp fall day. My son was running a half marathon and our entire family had come to cheer him on. I sat in front of a huge bonfire overlooking a beautiful, scenic valley. A mist had settled over the mountains in the distance, and the sun was trying to peek through the clouds. Huddled in front of the fire, I sipped hot coffee and observed the people standing around me. Loud music played in the background.
I barely noticed him at first. He had wandered over to the fire and sat down in the chair right beside me. I sensed his presence and looked over to see an adorable little boy. He was about five years old. He was dancing in his chair to the music, and enjoying a peanut butter sandwich. Watching him made me think of my own boy, that boy who is now a man. He never could sit still…he still can’t! I pictured my own little boy sitting next to me, dancing in his seat, eating a peanut butter sandwich. I quickly turned away to scan the valley in front of me, wondering if I might catch a glimpse of him.
Without warning, tears began to flow.
I’m not sure why they came. It was one of those moments of the heart when you are struck with the reality of the passing of time. I looked up one day, and a young man in his 20’s was standing in the place where there was once a young boy.
I am not one who longs for the days when my children were little. Each season has been full and has brought new joys and new challenges. I cherished those days of having younger children and have sweet memories, but I do not long for them. I fully enjoy my children in the present. For me the hard part is the adjustment of entering a new season. As a parent, just when you think you have it all figured out, you have to learn how relate to your children in a new way. You have to find new ways to be a part of their lives.
The contrast hit me. There was that precious little boy dancing in the seat next to me, and that precious young man out there running the half marathon. It was a picture of the beautiful, harsh reality of life. I am in the wild storm of transition.
For years I held his hand while loving, guiding, teaching and training him. Over the past few years I have been learning how to step back, let go of his hand, and allow him to walk on his own. To hold on would be wrong. There is a relief in the letting go, but there are also tears. That mystery that is present in every mother’s heart.
As I let go, he is able to reach out and fully take the hand of God. He is able to be loved, guided, taught and trained by the One who has called him to follow Him. In this new season I am given a new job description. My job is to step back and cheer him on.
And that’s exactly what I intend to do.