I didn’t cry when our boys went to kindergarten.
I didn’t cry when our boys went to high school.
I didn’t even cry when our oldest graduated from high school.
Maybe that’s why the flood of emotion that washed over me a couple days before we took our oldest to college completely caught me off guard. Even now, as we’re back home, the wave swells, tears rise and threaten to spill over.
I’ve always known before that he will invariably be home at the end of each day.
A tiny word filled with purpose. Yet. The tiny word that reminds me why we do what we do. It keeps me focused, goal-oriented, intentional.
We raise them to the best of our ability so they can spread their wings and fly away. It’s biblical.
“If anyone comes to me but does not hate [or loves more than me; Jesus is using hyperbole to emphasize his point] his father, mother, wife, children, brothers, or sisters—or even ·life [life itself; or his own life]—he cannot be my ·follower [disciple].” Luke 14:26 (Expanded Bible)
“So a man will leave his father and mother [ in the sense of a new primary loyalty] and be united with his wife, and the two will become one ·body [ flesh].” Genesis 2:24 (Expanded Bible)
We haven’t reached the applicability of the second verse, but it’s biblical that I open my palms and graciously release him to leave.
This first step of releasing is new territory for me. As my husband wisely said, “We’re stepping back from coaching and allowing him to be the team captain. He’ll be calling his own plays.” This means lessons learned the hard way. We will be there to support and advise, but only when it’s asked for. This is probably the most difficult of all, given that I cut my teeth on “Dear Abby.” No comics for this girl.
Did we do enough?
The answer is yes, though it falters a little. We did what we knew to do. Maybe it’s not enough, maybe we could have done better – know there were areas in which we could’ve done better – but we did what we knew to do in the best way we knew how.
Is he ready?
The answer is yes, a hearty yes. The boy has been trying to set off on his own his entire life. Twice at the age of three and again at the age of eight. He has hitchhiked with strangers twice, he’s been brought home by police. He has been an observer of navigating the world. His spiritual footing is solid for a guy his age. Will he stumble? Yes. Will he question? Yes. Does he have weaknesses that need purified? Yes. But he is ready to work out his own salvation and make it his own.
The yes’s don’t make the letting go easier, but they magnify the yet…
Many parents have asked me, “How can you let him go so far away? Why can’t he stay around here?”
The yet is what prompts me to answer the questions with my own.
How can I not let him go so far away? How could I force him to stay here?
Seven hours away is exactly where God wants him. God so graciously closed all other doors in order to make the decision very clear. Who am I, his mother, to stand in the way of God’s path for his life? He is suited for a purpose far above anything I could dream for him.
So the tears may fall, yet we have reached the goal line in raising him. I now have a piece of my heart in Illinois, yet our purpose has been fulfilled.
There is an area of my nest that is vacant, yet I’m so proud to see him fly.
Find your wings. We’re so proud of you.