It’s been over two weeks. Two weeks to process and adjust. He was fine. Happy as a lark. It was me; me that had to shed some tears and let go.
We know it’s coming. We know it from the time that screaming newborn is placed on our chest, messy but completely perfect. We know that is the beginning of letting go. Leaving the womb is just the first step, followed by countless more. They grow and learn to do more and more on their own. That is the goal after all.
My kids were never the fearful type. You know, the kids that cling to their mom’s hand and then weep copious tears when it’s time to drop them off at the church nursery or kindergarten. No, they were smiling and ready for a new adventure. There was a happy “Bye, Mom” and that was it. I watched other children cling and thought, “My kids must not like me very much. They can’t wait to go.” That horrible insecurity we mothers live with raised its ugly head. But, one day, a wise woman heard my tale and smiled. “No, Marie, it’s a good thing. They are so secure in who they are and in their relationship with you that new things don’t frighten them. You’ve done a great job!” A weight lifted off of me. She was right. My kids were happy and unafraid. Sure, they had moments of doubt and insecurity. Who doesn’t? But, that never stopped them for going and doing.
The years sped by, the middle and high school years seeming to take on warp speed. Suddenly, I was the mom watching her son pack for university. And he was so dang joyful about it. Cling a bit for once, Son! But, no, he was ready. That’s the way it should be. I raised him to be ready. I raised him to be an independent man, one with a strong work ethic and sense of responsibility. I raised him to go, not to stay.
It’s just this mother heart inside of me that bleeds a little bit, remembering the chubby, chunky, cuddly baby boy he was. Remembering his twinkly eyes, expressive personality and sensitive soul. Remembering the boy who listened to a Josh Groban CD at the age of 6 and then came to me with tears in his eyes saying, “Mom, that’s beautiful.” Remembering all our deep conversations and our silly ones as well. Remembering his most famous quote when he was around 10 or so…”I’m smart in school but not smart in life.” How we laughed and still do at his transparency and quick wit.
Yes, he’s only 30 minutes away (thank God for small mercies) but it feels like hundreds. His personality is not within these walls anymore. He’s not here to balance out the estrogen and bring perspective to our emotional dramas. His insights and humor are no longer part of our daily routine. We miss him.
As we said our final good-byes on move in day, I just wanted to hold on. But, I had to let go. He walked away. I clung to Anton’s hand…felt his arm wrap around me, pulling me close. The tears welled and fell…just another mom crying that day; another mom wondering how this could already be happening. Crying for The Leaving. The baby who took his first breath on his own had successfully left the nest. Grief and pride swirled inside of me. We did it. He did it.
**Two weeks have passed. Judah is so happy, already surrounded by amazing, godly friends, plugged into a church and two awesome small groups. His relationship with God is growing stronger, not weaker. God’s Word is so true. “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6