A week ago I watched my firstborn walk across a stage, shake a few hands and receive a degree he’s worked for four years to obtain. With watery eyes and sniffles, I slipped back in time to my own passage across a platform to receive my English degree about a thousand years ago, yet I remember it like it was yesterday. Now, I’m my parents and I know what it’s like to be on the other side of the stage, sitting prouder than a peacock, watching my tall son go through his rite of passage with honors. I glance at my husband whose eyes are also brimming and red. Our eyes express our feelings. No words needed.
We’ve watched this boy grow from child to man. And though we felt a smidgen of this ending of things four years previously at his high school graduation, it doesn’t compare to the finality of this ending. How could it? He still came and went, summer and fall, holidays and weekends. We’d play games, watch movies and he’d sleep in his bedroom in our home. But now. Now?! It’s different. He’ll be home long enough to save a few more dollars, move into his own place, marry, make his own home and eventually raise his own family. An extension of us, but nevertheless, his own. On his OWN. Without us.
Bittersweet, yet isn’t this what we as parents are supposed to do? Raise our little ones to manhood or womanhood so they can step out on their own? Raise them to know the One who is present with them always even when Mom and Dad aren’t? Raise them to know that no matter what, no matter what, Jesus can be trusted through any situation they may face? Many times as a mom, I’ve wished for do overs. I’d have handled many situations differently, but one thing I’d never change is sharing Jesus with my son. Because the one thing I do know is that if my green-eyed boy knows the One to go to in any circumstance, it won't matter where life takes him, he’ll be fine.
So, life right now feels strange. I’m sad and happy rolled up together. I’m Jesus’ mother, treasuring all these things in my heart (Luke 2:51), holding onto that boy for just a few weeks longer, until he truly flies away. In my mind he’s still mine. Always will be. Yet, I know another has taken his heart, as it should be. Nevertheless, I carried, cuddled and corrected that kid for 22 years, and if I’m like my own mother, I’ll feel compelled to continue even when he’s 40! So, even though he’s moving out, establishing his family and career, giving his heart away to another, I will hold him close in mine forever.