The house is empty except for me.
After all the bustle, all the people, all of the cooking and feeding and talking, I am exhausted.
But more than that, the Mommy heart once again has to say goodbye.
I awoke to my youngest son rushing out the door for his first “real” job. My husband left before that. The other boys (men, really) drove away yesterday to face the grind of a semester end and finals week. My daughter is with her husband.
The only sound I hear is the gentle hum of my laptop.
It would be easier to say goodbye if my boys had looked eager to leave. My oldest worked on a major paper until the minute he drove away, his stress levels palpable. My middle son is farther from home, too far for a quick weekend visit. He is where God has called him, (I know this!) but he is lonely. He said one of the things he missed most was an environment where spiritual conversations happen. That it is very dry where he is.
That it was hard to go back.
I suppose the tears slipping from my eyes have dual prompts. I miss him terribly, but I also cry for him, for the path he now walks, mostly alone.
Never alone. Because I have given him to the One who never leaves or forsakes.
But beyond the reach of Momma’s arms.
But never beyond the reach of Momma’s prayers.
And so I’ll keep praying.
A friend told me, “Transitioning from under the wings of God at one’s parents’ house can be hard as children emerge into adulthood. It’s taking what was safe and “belonged” to mom and/or dad and making it your own, then trying to integrate it into the bold-faced truth of life. It’s almost like they have to learn how to walk again. A lot of the times they slip and fall or, if they’re tired of the bumps and bruises, decide to try another path. But God IS faithful and promises us this: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
This is right. It is so right–the moving out and beyond. I want them to be established. Independent. Strong.
My son can’t see his growth yet, but I do. He is emerging, growing into the skin of manhood he long ago donned. The foundation–for good or not, I pray for good–is laid. And now he builds.
Not me and dad.
Each child now adult chooses which bricks will make the man or woman.
I can no longer control. I can no longer choose for them.
Even my advice must be offered sparingly and with prayerful timing. Some personalities receive it more quickly than others.
It is my job to be wise about when and what I share with them. If I give them the freedom to be adults, they allow me the advice-giving. If I push too hard, their ears close.
Which is as it should be.
Really, it is not my life to build. I no longer pour the concrete, frame the structure.
It is their turn.
I survive this because they are not alone. The One who watches and sees, the One who promises to complete that which He started, is overseeing the process. And while my children still choose, there is a hand upon theirs helping them lift the right bricks. There is a whisper in their hearts directing their choices.
Thankfully, those kids have a lot of wisdom.
Still, there will be days they turn from the whisper, pick up a brick unsuited, nail the wrong board. But He will be there then, too. He is overseer. He will see the structure is solid.
And I will pray.
I will call out to the only One who can be with them forever. The only one who cares more than their dad and I do. The only One who makes any of us stand strong.
I hope the bricks I would not choose for them will be far and few between, but I will not despair when they come. Because all is never lost. I entrusted each of these precious children into the hands of the Faithful One when I could still cradle them in my arms. I entrust them to Him now.
He never falters.
He never wrings his hands wondering what to do.
He never gives up.
He always loves and builds.
He promised to finish the good work He started.
And so I’ll cry a little. Pray a lot.
And learn to let go.