The pitter patter of small running steps coming toward me awakens me from my trance as I closely look upon the late winter thunderstorm outside my bathroom window. Rain pellets fall, flashes of light come, and a thunderous sound booms from the heavens shaking my feet placed perfectly in the bathtub facing the window peering into the storm.
“Mommy!” A shrill familiar voice drags me from my place of reckoning, my meeting with the dark, and peace being made with a familiar difficult day. I shake it off and bring myself into the world where my four-year-old daughter cries my name.
“Yes, baby.” Grabbing her small frame, I bring her onto my lap and hold her kiss for a second too long. “Mommy’s watching the beautiful storm.” I form myself from my shaken voice.
Her head turns into my chest, “but mommy, I’m scared.” In slow motion, I lift her chin to face my eyes.
“Never be afraid of the storm. This is when God cleanses us. Look, all of this rain purifies, it makes us new again. It is a good thing, my sweet daughter.” She smiles, lifts her posture high, and we await the next bolt of brilliance together.
We hold hands and rejoice at every beam of electricity and boom of sound as I relive the past twelve hours of my difficult day…
A humid afternoon in August of twenty sixteen I left a very readily able eighteen-year-old son in Minneapolis, Minnesota at the forefront of greatness that this world has called him into. From my home to North Central University, he was ready to fly.
Now if you are a mother who has had to let go of a child, you totally know where I’m coming from. This is why “Toy Story Three” made mother’s ball like little babies across the globe as Andy’s mom stammered, “I thought you’d always be there.”
But that’s not our job, we are meant to give them to a world that we know is horrible, brutal, unforgiving, and uncertain. In that knowledge, we still have to obey, and somehow some way, give them away to live the life God has masterfully planned for them.
That day in the commons of the heat, the loss struck me in a way that I knew was coming, yet had no way of how it would affect me to my core. I cried. Lost my mind. Missed him, yearned, blessed God’s name in the way he handled himself on his own.
Yet, today, on the last day of February, I found myself really, really….mad.
As I sat in my place today, the work I do to provide for my three other children still with me, and the one who is living his purpose six hours away, I became angry, filled with a rage I didn’t expect to come when I dropped my oldest son off at college six months prior.
I mean for real?
This is it?
I gave, and gave, and bled and, breathed and cried and rejoiced. And then what? I just give? It all away? I mean… for real, God???
Anger came even more so as the early evening storm clouds moved in. My jaw tightened, heart clenched as I missed my oldest boy. Day after day, I miss him.
But today, I’m ANGRY… at God. That this is my purpose, to give my everything, love my last blood of red and then be left…behind?
Giggles met me at the door as I came home from a long, hard, emotionally toiled day at work. An eight-year-old blond haired boy screamed, “Mommy!” and a four-year-old little girl bellowed, “did you bring us a treat?” My sixteen year old had just texted me that he loves me and will be home later. Do I take it all for granted, every last second forged in time somewhere lost in their past? In their childhood, and my memories that we are making today?
My mind went blank as I found myself to the comfort of my yoga pants and hot tea. Eyes, lulling to sleep as my daughter watches Mickey Mouse Club House, and I shake off a tough day at work. My body came to a stance as the reality of the early evening hits me, it’s only five o’clock and I still feel…as empty as this day began, I still miss the one that is gone.
Brewing clouds finally collide to tell its story of growth, formation, and finally, one of a crescendo that brings my unknowing, uncharted, heart to its knees. The sky cries, I hear the voice, and in the midst, I see his young face, my first born baby boy.
Small, little. Needing. Wanting.
Big brown eyes, round rosy cheeks, seeking me first. Loving me the way you love the one who gives you life. I hold my hands to my heart as the thunder pounds away to remind me that no matter where he is, no matter where I am, he is my treasure. My reward.
The tethered lines have frayed. Caleb has left me, yet never left me. Caleb is on his own, yet, more close to me than I could have ever dreamed. My loss is his gain. Growth in God has a way of showing you that even though you feel alone, you are NEVER left alone.
Never forsaken. On both ends, we feel this as he navigates his way, and I mine.
In my dark bathroom, I watch the storm, and my daughter brings me from my moment with the realization of what Jesus asks of us. To live like He did, broken, barren, forsaken, and finally hung for dead, yet with great Faith. That Whispers come.
No matter the distance I may have with my children, the breath of life I gave them, the desperate longing to be with them resonates with their souls, giving them the strength to seek out the whispers of their own hearts. The one God lays upon them, and that is all the comfort I need in this time of letting go, yet still clinging to the sound of pitter patter needing me during a storm.