Major life changes have a way of doing funny things to you. We’ve all had to deal with the swift change of the winds as it rises the shifting tides in our life. For some reason, the stirring up of the norm creates a strange response in the human brain. More like a plea that sounds something like this: “Wait, slow down God, I was fine before. I actually liked the way things were going. I WAS COMFORTABLE…Wait, what, this is really going to happen…no!!!!!!”
Then we find our whole world in upheaval by one singular moment in time altering the axis of our normalcy. Dealing with such situations has proven tough for me, no matter the occurrence, or for lack of better words, change totally stinks.
As many of my readers know, my oldest son is going into the world in three weeks. This new journey called…college. But the strangest thing I have to wrap my mind around is that he is going there without me.
I mean this is a crazy concept, right!? For real, how can my child, my baby, my flesh and blood, the tiny little creature that formed inside my body and made me love more than I ever knew how to love….leave me?
I’ve spent the past year of my life trying to wrap my mind around the fact that my oldest of four babies here on earth will be flying into the next. Even though it has seemed like miles away as I’ve processed the idea of him leaving, I’m faced with the fact that his impending departure has turned into…now.
We all deal with the idea of major change in different ways. Some people crumble into the fetal position and cling to the past, some turn to a new outlet of social ties to help them through and some eat too much ice cream…I’ve done all of the above plus more…
- I’ve cried. A lot. Probably to an embarrassing degree. When I took Caleb to NCU for an audition for a music scholarship, encompassed in the next home that he would eventually have, I couldn’t stop the cascade of tears pouring from my eyes. I felt like I was in a relay race handing the baton off to the next leg in the chase.
- I’ve rejoiced. My son has made me more proud than I could have ever dreamed. While this past year he has pulled away and I’ve clung to one last hug, he has shown me that he is ready to make his impact on this world. He is capable and ready to walk out my door and into the amazing journey that awaits him. As I’ve rejoiced in the man he has become I have to pause and know that he will take with him all that I have given him. Even the smallest of lessons like how to not ruin your clothes by putting them in the dryer on “hot”. I’ve smiled a lot this past year rejoicing at all he was and the magnificent, intelligent and capable creature he has become.
- I’ve tried to hold on. I’ve pushed myself on him, wanting more, begging, hoping he would give me what I needed. But in the midst, I was missing the lesson that people never give us all of what we want but most importantly, what we need. People innately fail us, yet, God gives us what we need. Yet the one last glance, one talk, one hug I longed for came to me in the simplest of forms, in sparkles of hope and rejoice, and not all from Caleb himself. His friends blanketed themselves around me this past year. Sharing with me tales of how my boy impacted their lives. The smile that placated their faces as they spoke of him truly showed me the love my son is giving the world. Yet, every interaction with my boy somehow felt like a “last” until I realized that instead of goodbye, this next season in our lives as mother and son is a new hello. It is indeed a brand new beginning of a bright change in our relationship. I’ve done my duty, now he will do his.
- I’ve learned to let go. Every time I’ve watched him leave this year I’ve imagined it being when I drop him off at college and he walks through the doors of his new exciting life. I know it sounds ridiculously dramatic, yet, it has felt all too real to me. To have one less child at the dinner table, to not be a part of his every decision, his undertakings, successes, and failures. I’ll never forget one of the most tender moments I’ve ever shared with my son. When he 10 years old, after fighting 6 years of type one diabetes we shared a very powerful moment. He was mad. Angry, sick and tired of needles, finger pokes, highs, and lows. And so was I. He melted in my arms and told me how frustrated he was with the failure of his body. I held him tight and proclaimed that I was really mad as well. Then we cried together. Probably the last time I’ve seen my son shed real salt water tears. I wanted him to know that life isn’t always perfect and that is okay, we receive ebbs and flows, joys and sorrows and to feel them is the presence of God, for this is all He has intended for us…the challenges and the blessings.
Yet as a mother my mind has drifted to a question as my son leaves me~who, now, is going to wipe away his tears?
Letting go is the hardest thing to do. No matter the instance. Saying goodbye is brutal, echoing a heartache that makes one fall to their knees begging for a remarkable pardon from the feeling of absence. Yet I know deep in my heart that he will always be with me. For how could he not be? He is and always will be one of the four greatest parts of my mind, body, and soul. That’s called being a mother, and it doesn’t cease when they graduate high school and move on to the next phase of their lives.
On Caleb’s graduation invites, I had captured the scripture, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11
It seemed fitting. Yet, now I know who this scripture was really for…and that was indeed, me. God is telling me that I will be okay, my boy is ready to fly, and I am so ready to watch him soar! My Lord is comforting me in saying that Caleb leaving is a gift of promise not a burden of goodbye. I’ve made mistakes and made promises I couldn’t keep. I’ve let him down, yet I’ve given him all of me. All of my sacrifice, my word, my lessons, my laughter, my work ethic, my mind, my servitude, my earnings, and my blood, sweat and tears. I’ve given it all. We love and breathe and provide everything thing for our children, and then we receive the greatest prize ever, a child walking into the world with promise, hope, and dreams of a future. The tricky thing for me this past twelve months is finding how I will fit into this new world. Yet God has taught me that life is a cycle of giving, nurturing, loving, teaching, losing, falling, winning, and finally letting go.
If you see me in the months to come beaming with joy and pride, or glossy eyes missing my boy know that I have done my job, and I may need a hug…
Please enjoy the song that inspired this blog post…Empires by Hillsong UNITED!