Here you are sitting at the table, talking to your teenage son about his future goals and it hits you, the realization that you can’t protect him anymore. It’s naive to think you ever were truly protecting him but in your mom mind, you have done your best and now it’s beginning to look like your “job” requirements are changing.
As a mom, I have only experienced that wave of crippling fear rush over me a couple of times, but the other night was a new version of that fear. Here my grown, teenage son was discussing his goals and aspirations and all I could see was the little boy, gap in between his teeth, cheeks that looked as those they were filled with marshmallows, lining up his army men for battle, asking for “foot” (fruit) snacks. Yet here we are, no gaps in the teeth (thank you orthodontics), no puffy little cheeks but a handsome face with tufts of hair, and instead of lining up the army men he is talking about them. I see the twinkle in his eyes and hear what he was saying but it was almost like there was two of me, the one listening and the one waking up from the almost 17 year dream, recognizing, he isn’t so little and I can’t save him, and those green army men are not just toys anymore and they are beginning to have real life faces.
As my son was pouring out his heart, excited to tell us what has been on his mind for quite sometime now, I began to implode and “momma bear” came out. I immediately dismissed most of what he said, told him as many negative things that I could, in regards to his goals, and pretty much convinced myself that I could talk him out of this nonsense in five minutes. I know what you are thinking, “Wow, way to go mom! Way to kill your kids dreams!” I know, it was one of those moments that I know will not earn me the “mom of the year” award but darn tooting I was going to go out fighting.
The conversation ended and everyone left the table and my tears started flowing. I recognized his ideas and dreams may not come to fruition (I may or may not be praying for that shhhhh). I recognized that I was emotionally overreacting in that moment. I also recognized he wasn’t so little anymore and I had to let go. As the wave of thoughts, fear and emotions hit me, I suddenly felt complete sorrow for the mommas who have gone before me, knowing their sons have been in harms way, fighting for their life and the lives of others, many who haven’t come home, many who are severely injured, and I am humbled by their strength, recognize my own puny weakness and acknowledge their courage but also realized that I didn’t want to be one of them.
As my stomach somersaults, my mind races across on this roller coaster, it hits me, he never was my son completely, he has been on loan all of these years, he has a “parent” who truly has protected and guided him, who knows his future, knows every hair on his head and knows every breathe he will take, his Creator, his God, his Jesus, his Savior. His Father God knows what He is doing and He has always known. Even though I can’t hold his hand, as my son walks this journey, his Heavenly Father can. Even though I can’t whisper words of wisdom, every encounter he makes, his Heavenly Father can. As much as I want to shield my son from this world, how much more do I want him to cling to his armor of God.
I recognize my life as a mom never stops. I will always love my kids. I will always do my best to give advice, help when needed, pray for them, and let them have a haven to come to. In the same breathe, I also recognize that I am weak and my Heavenly Father is strong, and his strength can only be made perfect in my weakness. So here I am telling you that I am going to do my best to hold on to His strength, and rest peacefully in the knowledge that my God is carrying my son, carrying me, as we climb this mountain filled with little green army men, together.