I had a moment recently. For me, a “moment” is a moment in time, when I am given the gift of taking in what’s happening as it’s happening. When my circumstances stand still and I’m struck with some kind of reality or insight. When I’m able to step outside the immediate moment and see a bigger picture.
My moment came while walking home from the park with my two boys. I was holding Brennan’s hand. His little palm tightly gripped my pinky finger as we walked along. Micah ~ big boy that he is ~ was ahead of us on his bike.
“Can I go?” Micah yelled to me. He was a half a block ahead of us. He was wanting to cross the street to the left, without having to wait for me (which was the standing rule). Normally, I would say no and have him wait for me. He’s six now and he’s been begging me to let him cross streets without having to wait for me. We’re only two blocks from home, it’s not a busy street, and I can still see him (and see that there are no cars coming). So I say “yes.” Off he went.
Suddenly, I realize he is out of sight. I hadn’t thought ahead to the fact that once he crossed the street, he would soon be out of sight. I pick up my pace. The logical side of me tells me that he will be fine. We’re in our neighborhood. He knows to stay on the sidewalk. Nothing is going to happen.
The illogical, mothering side of me (the one that wants to keep each child as close by my side as long as possible) is worried. What if someone takes him? What if he decides to ride in the street? What if something happens? These are really just fleeting thoughts…I know he’s fine. I just want to keep him close, that’s all.
That’s when my moment came. I have to let Micah, and all my children, round corners. Slip out of sight occasionally. This literal slipping out of sight, is only the beginning of slowly letting go. Slowly loosening my grip. That’s actually my job.
In fact, in that very moment in time there was something related to each of my three children that represented this growing up and letting go idea. Little Brennan, though holding my hand at my side, had made a step toward independence that very day. He was wearing underwear. My baby, on the verge of being a big boy.
Kiersten was not even with us on this outing because of a major step in loosening my grip. She was at camp. It was Day Camp, but camp none-the-less. In fact, just the night before she had spent the night. Camp had an optional overnight on Thursday, and Kiersten (with our permission…and blessing) had chosen to stay all night. My heart ached just a little as we drove away and I realized that it would be nineteen hours (who’s counting?) before I’d see her again. At the same time, I was excited for her and the fun I knew she was going to have.
A three-year-old by my side, still holding my hand. But wearing underwear. A six-year-old out of sight because he had crossed the street and rounded a corner ~ all by himself. An eight-year-old away at camp, spending the night at a place she had never been and with people she hadn’t known just one week earlier.
My children are rounding corners…and it’s my job to let them. As much as I want to always keep them in sight…I can’t. Slowly, ever so slowly (although at times it seems way too quickly!), my children are growing up. One step at a time. Doing this job called mothering hurts a little sometimes, especially when they’re rounding corners. Yet, I’d have it no other way.
As I was having my “rounding corners” moment, a verse came to mind. It’s the verse that gave me comfort on Kiersten’s first day of kindergarten, three years ago. My first BIG “loosening-my-grip” experience. It has become my prayer for my children:
The Lord watches over you…the Lord will keep you from all harm ~ he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going, both now and forevermore.” Psalm 121:5, 7-8
Loosening my grip and letting my children round corners without me is much easier when I remember that they are always in His grip, they never round corners that take them out of His sight, and He does and will watch over all of their comings and goings, both now and forevermore. Even (and especially) when I can’t.