Our firstborn has two months of high school left. How will I let him go?
I don’t know.
What is happening to my heart and how did time pass so quickly?
C.S. Lewis had interesting thoughts on time. I believe he suggested that since we can’t quite grasp the passing of time it is a proof that we were made for the eternal. How many times have we said or heard, “I can’t believe how time flies”? Or, “time passes more quickly the older we get”? We can’t get a grip on it. I have been guilty of saying recently,
“Time, please slow down”.
As if that is even possible!
Concerning that idea, C.S. Lewis said:
“The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.”
Our firstborn, JH, seems to have been speeding toward adulthood and leaving us since age 11. He was 11 when My Man took him to Peru and into the Amazon for over a month of mission work and travel. It was hard enough saying goodbye before they left…with the knowledge of the dangerous voyage ahead of them…six days of travel into the deep of the jungle…would he get yellow fever?!
But what I didn’t know, was that I was saying goodbye to my boy-child—forever! Or I imagine I would have clung to him for dear life, refusing to let him go and making quite the scene. Is that what will happen in just a few months? When he wrenches my heart out?
Does he even remember all the nights I sang hymns with him before he went to sleep?
The people down there told me that my boy literally came out of the jungle a few inches taller
There were several situations on that trip that facilitated that “change”. Perhaps the biggest incident was when my husband got deathly ill after they were back from the jungle. JH had to navigate through town and exchange money before hiring a van to take him, alone, to a neighboring town. No wonder he came back a man. He later was responsible for getting his sick dad and all their gear through the airports to get home.
It was an official rite of passage…maybe all boys need to have one.
Becoming a man is one of the goals, after all
There was no putting on the brakes after that—full speed ahead into adulthood. As the clock ticks I comfort myself by reminiscing….
JH was my buddy in those early, tough years
In my last post I shared about My Man going to Baja, after an argument, while I ran home to my grandparents. We survived that separation, reconciled and persevered. His work picked back up and I had a lot of solitude to process my “new life”.
He was off working for days at a time…no conflict…perfect!
While he worked I wandered, a lot—over the windswept, bald hills surrounding our trailer. Wandering is still one of my favorite past times. It must be the main reason I feel akin to the young ladies in the Jane Austen books and, also, to Jane in Jane Eyre. The young ladies in those books are always out meandering through the countryside, lost in thought.
Wander with me
Something else occupied my thoughts: we were expecting our first child and I was thrilled!
For My Man, though, thoughts of a baby and his wife expanding were not appealing. Would he lose his adventurous life forever?!!!!
He enjoys kids from about age eighteen months and up—or after they are potty trained—and at that point, he goes above and beyond with parenting.
But pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding and diapers all accosted his mind with disgusting images and smells. I was the opposite. I was made for that stage of life.
So I wandered the hills, relishing in the expansion and expectation.
It all exceeded my expectations. JH was beautiful and even My Man was in awe. Not that his perspective changed—no diaper changing for him and he was still going to mostly hold out for those older years!
I didn’t mind the diaper duty; I believe in the division of labor. I threw myself into all the tasks of caring for that amazing creation of God—our son. Completely. I read books to him starting at about age day 2. I still know them by heart—“A is for Apple, B is for bed…”(Richard Scarry was our friend).
It was acceptable to put all my energy into mothering, right? What a noble thing! But wait, what about not being kid-centric? Well, in that first year, my mothering instincts put me into kid-centric overdrive—forgetting all about My Man’s needs.
We were having fun
Wasn’t I naturally a parenting expert now? I knew what was best for our son, right? Did I really need my husband’s wisdom? Surely, that hard head of mine was a stronghold for everything “parenting”.
I’m sure that you can imagine this created more tension in our marriage. Just because My Man wasn’t all warm and fuzzy about a newborn didn’t mean that he didn’t care about him. He cared with a wisdom and a depth far beyond the baby’s basic needs.
I ignored the tension and My Man, losing myself in the la-la land of reading books and wandering the hills with the baby strapped to me—not thinking very far into the future.
Not thinking that before I could even imagine he would be growing up and extracting himself from my ties
Part of me, the disproportionately small logical side, has been letting go for years—as he left for the Amazon jungle, on many fast and furious Baja runs with My Man, driving to Alaska with a complete stranger, etc. We summited Mt. Shasta with him in a day when he was twelve—wondering if he was going to fall asleep on his feet and plummet to his death.
I remember the difficult nights leading up to those adventurous excursions—the nights before were the worst. Once I waved goodbye I surprisingly had complete peace.
He walked out of my “control”—and into God’s
And that is where the peace will be—passing him with confidence into the hands of our heavenly Father. We have done our best with him. We prayed our way through parenting him and prayed for God to fix the foolish mistakes we have made.
My frequent prayer JH’s whole life has been:
“God, please stand in the gaps.”
My Man and I did our best to follow a biblical mandate for parents, teaching our children God’s Word, found in Deuteronomy 11:19:
“You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”
I thankfully learned to follow my husband’s lead in raising our son and I learned that it wasn’t best to be idolizing that boy. I’m really not idolizing him now with all these pictures….
Trusting God’s plan and trusting My Man were things I have learned over time. In my next post I’ll continue with the tangles, twists and turns leading up to those acts of submission. Eventually, I’ll also highlight our other two amazing children. Despite what they think, JH is not my favorite…just in certain moments….
How do we let our children go?
My “big plan” to let him go is to stay rooted in God’s Word—my solid rock. There might be some dark nights ahead in anticipation, but God always brings the dawn and His peace.
God made children to grow up into adults, period. That must be God’s best for them. They have to have their own journey with mistakes and triumphs; we do our best while they’re ours, apologize and learn from mistakes, and then entrust them into God’s care.
I can’t promise there won’t be drama and tears, that is part of my M.O.
(In the presence of godly men)
Our kids will have their “own line to cut”, in firefighting terms, and while I still have breath I will have my ability to pray for them.
C.S. Lewis held tight to God’s promises as well,
“There are far far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”
I choked back sobs on JH’s sixteenth birthday, reading Ann Voskamp’s beautiful words in that letter to her son. I printed it for JH, but I’m not sure he read it. Maybe he will read this:
I trust God’s plan for you, Son, and He gives me a peace that surpasses all of my human understanding. Never stop seeking him.