This letting go

I am looking back on life and wondering how I have lived so many years.  The lines of my face age me, but inside I feel just shy of twenty.  My children are the reminders of all the time I have passed through.  The fade of the sun and the rise of the moon have transformed them.  I remember their beginning and many of the moments that have brought them to where they are now.  I have been there savoring the gifts that time brings, and loving the journey of being a mom.  And through all of these years I have come to believe that the hardest part and the most beautiful is the letting go.

My son had surgery last week that prevents him from putting any weight on one of his legs for at least six weeks. He has been hobbling his way through our home, up and down the stairs on crutches.  He is still the boy he has always been, pushing the boundaries of his abilities, full of confidence and lacking the fear that could keep him safe.  All of my warnings of the consequences that will follow a fall seem to evaporate from his consciousness the minute I am no longer present.

The very first morning after surgery he felt a pop in the muscle that was reattached to the bone it had been torn from.  I immediately began to think of him having to face the entire surgery over again. The pain, the fear, the regret.   His recovery postponed.  His desire to be whole and healthy would seem a distant, unreachable goal.

His face fell sober, and his movements grew slow and cautious.  For a while.

He returns to school in a few days, and I will have to let him move at the pace he chooses.  The tragic scenarios that run through my head make my stomach hurt.  But my time of teaching and reminding is nearly over.  His life, his choices will be in his hands, and he will have to carry the consequences.

I can see how the process evolves.  Children are pushed into this world in the smallest of forms, and placed in our arms to love and protect.  It seems so easy now.  And also not.  The endless diapers and nighttime feedings, the spit stained clothes and the car seat finagling were nothing compared to the worry of watching them sleep and willing the next breath.  And then the next.

The years gifted me the opportunity to practice.  The first hesitant steps delighted the release of tiny hands.  And the joy that I felt through their surprise of walking alone overwhelmed the realization that I was needed less.

I blink a few times before a big yellow bus stops at the corner to take them to school.  I hold back the tears because I know how five year olds can be hesitant to leave their mamas.   If they saw how much it hurts to watch them walk away, they might never want to go.  I wave the hand they don't need to hold anymore, and my heart releases another part of them.

This is the beauty of what love does.  Love sacrifices and gives.  Love puts another's needs before its own desires.  Love strives for the ultimate good of another.

My son is two short years away from adulthood.  I live with the tension of excitement and fear for his future.  I sometimes wish I could make his choices for him, but I cannot.  I can only teach and guide and pray that he will choose well.  The stakes are higher now, the consequences greater.

Another day fades into the past.  I am older and perhaps a bit wiser, and so is he.  I'm loosening my grip.

But sometimes, yeah sometimes, he still holds my hand.


  1. I have a son- 37 (yikes!) and a daughter 34. I don't think Moms ever completely let go until the Lord call them home. But I have come to see their journeys as like watching a rose go from tender green shoots to tightly wound buds and then bursting open one petal at a time. It is glorious to behold.


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