He could always make my heart melt with his chocolate brown eyes. Even at age three he was a little grown-up with a huge vocabulary. People always smiled at the eloquent way the little guy spoke Afrikaans (our first language), and he wrote his first poem before he could spell.
My sweet little boy, Jean, is now a man of 21 who is ready to spread his wings and fly. He graduated from college, found a great job, and is looking for his own place to stay.
It’s all so wonderful! Just one problem: I’m not ready…
It’s not that I don’t want him to enjoy every minute of his new and exiting journey – because I do! It’s not that I’m not grateful – because I am so grateful for the positive direction his life is taking. It’s simply a matter of me not being ready to let go…
Nothing really prepares us for this, does it?
I’m not ready for his little red car to no longer be parked outside my window. I’m not ready to stop falling over his shoes in the hallway. I still want to see him snuggle with his little sister Christie, huddle over a piece of artwork with Jason, and I still want to lay in bed and hear him laugh with Terrance into the early morning hours. I’m not ready to let go of the long and rich conversation we have about anything from politics to pumpkin. I’m so not ready to cook authentic South African food without my oldest chopping, stirring, and adding things to age old recipes.
I really don’t want to be a mother who keeps controlling until she’s resented, but I also don’t want him to think that I stopped caring. Because the truth is that I lay awake wondering, worrying, and praying that God will keep him safe, give him wisdom, help him choose wisely, and especially that our Father will always keep him close…
A dear friend reminded me recently that when separation is most difficult for me, it is probably most crucial for his future.
It’s still hard but I’m learning slowly that separating from my young adult or teenager is a balancing act between CONTROL and FREEDOM
By slowly letting go (even if it’s super difficult for me) I am…
- Equipping him to face the world out there while I’m still close enough to help
- Letting him find out who he is and what he truly likes
- Letting him develop his own relationship with God
- Keeping my door open if he wants to talk or ask for advice in the future
- Forging and preserving a new relationship with him that will go the distance
I wrote this poem a while ago when the “letting-go” process started. I believe there is only one way for us moms to endure these deep emotions: Hiding under the everlasting wing of the One who sees us. Jean is my oldest, so I still have to let go THREE MORE TIMES – Lord have mercy on this poor mama! For now I’ll pretend I have plenty of time and enjoy the sweeties I still have close to home.
He sees me…
invisible I am
in the kitchen
doing the laundry
picking up their shoes
watching, always watching
for a smile, a tear, a frown
waiting, always waiting
for the right time to talk
and I hurt, because they go
and I stay
and I cry, because they reach for tomorrow
and I still sit quietly with yesterday in my hand…
I long for the revealing of their greatness
I pray for their dreams to come true
every day they strive, hurt, laugh, dream, cry, love
and invisible I watch and I hold my breath
they don’t know it
they don’t see me
and yet, He sees me…
and He smiles…