You call me mom. You turn to me for guidance, permissions, advice, and money. My love for you is unending and unconditional. My greatest responsibility is to care for you because God has entrusted you to my care.
When you were a baby, I changed diapers, made formula, sung lullabies, and mashed peas. By the time you were two, I potty trained; recited ABC’s, colors, and shapes; and rocked you to sleep. I stood over your crib and prayed for your protection and wisdom to be a good mother. I paced the floor holding you when your tummy ached. I wore your spit-up with pride. I read books I’m not sure either one of us understood. You exerted your self will. I accommodated it when I could, and told you “no” when it was necessary. You got mad, stomped, and cried. I picked you up and tried to explain the danger in mommy-ease. I held you and told you I loved you.
By the time you were four, you wanted to be independent. You thought you were old enough to play outside without supervision. I sat on the steps while you played with the older kids in the yard. You never knew I was watching, not until that plastic sword came down on your forehead and the blood streamed down your face. Then, you ran to me crying. I acted calm. I wasn’t. I cleaned your wound, speaking to you gently, comforting you. I was a wreck, but keeping you calm was more important than acting on my feelings. I managed got you into the car. You weren’t in mortal danger, but being a mom made it feel like you were. I felt pain in my body when you hurt. I held you while your laceration was stitched. Little could I have imagined this would be the first of many stitches.
When you were tired, you had “growing pains.” I rubbed your legs, sometimes with a little lotion. The “medicine” made you feel better. I cooked macaroni and cheese every day, and begged you to eat your green beans. Everywhere your Dad and I went, you were in tow. You loved to ride. If all else failed when bed time had come and gone. We’d buckle you in the car and drive around and around the block until you fell asleep, or the neighbors called the cops. You usually fell asleep, and Dad would carry you inside to bed. I came in and prayed over your bed; asking God to protect you; for wisdom to be a good mom; for God to protect your future wife and to give her parent’s godly wisdom. Sometimes, I crawled out of your room to keep from waking you.
When you started school you wanted to ride the bus. I drove you to school. It made you mad. I read books, baked cupcakes, and attended PTA meetings. When you were a little older, you rode the bus. You were happy, and felt so grown up. I prayed for you while you were at school. At two thirty I started listening for the bus. When I heard it chugging up the hill I would go outside. I wanted to meet you when you got off the bus. You always tossed me your backpack. Then, ran off to play. If you came inside, before long, someone would be knocking at the door. You’d be gone in an instant. You stayed outside as long as you were allowed. You never wanted to leave your own yard. Secretly, that was a relief, even though you gave away cases of juice boxes and Popsicles. It didn’t matter, as long as I knew you were safe.
When you were old enough for the trampoline, I worried every day that you’d come in with a broken bone. We still have a trampoline, but your guardian angels have worked overtime to protect you. You never got hurt. You did teach me how to do a front flip, and you earned $20 for landing a back-flip on your feet. As time passed, you still wanted to be outdoors all the time. You climbed the tree at the end of the driveway, and called to me from the top branches. The ones that were too small to support you very well. I cringed inside, but steeled myself and gave you praise for your bravery and skill. When you jumped out of your tree house onto the trampoline, you thought I didn’t know. I was watching from the window. I wanted to stop you, but you were having fun and learning your own limitations.
You didn’t get hurt on the trampoline, but when you were nine, you ran into a brick window sill at Church. I heard your cry from the far side of the parking lot and ran. All I could see was blood, but I told you that you were fine. You believed me. I jumped into the nearest van and told the driver to get you to the hospital. I held you, again, while they stitched your head. You were so proud of those stitches. You wanted it to scar.
When you did a front dive over the handle bars of your scooter, your brother ran all the way home to tell me. I ran all the way to the hill. By the time I got to you I was chasing the EMT’s. You were awakening, in shock, screaming for “mommy.” You hadn’t called me that in years. I knelt beside you holding you, comforting you, and praying. I hovered around the ER room while they cleaned and dressed your wounds. I slept in the chair when you had to stay in the hospital overnight. I got up in the night and stood over your hospital bed. I cried. I thanked God for protecting you. I watched you sleep. I watched you breathe.
Karate, baseball, football: your Dad and I followed you around to every park. When you were only months away from a black belt you begged to quit Karate. We didn’t let you. That really made you mad. You were so happy when you passed the blackbelt test. Now, you use your knowledge and skill as a second degree black belt to teach kids Karate for free. I’m so proud of you.
When it came time for high school, we decided to home school. Every day that year I coaxed, begged, and screamed for you to get up. “I’m up,” you’d pipe from somewhere under the covers. A couple of hours later you’d crawl out of bed and get to work. You are so smart. You didn’t have any trouble with the schoolwork. You had trouble getting out of bed. You still do.
You turned sixteen. You still called me “mom,” but voice was much deeper. You have always been a good son. That is one reasons you got a car when you turned sixteen. You have always been dependable and responsible. We trusted you. We still do, but every time you get behind the wheel I ask God to protect you. I’ve seen you speeding off in the distance.
Now you face so many decisions. Where will you go to college? What is your life’s work? What will you do with the rest of your life? You don’t think I’m watching, but just like when I sat on the porch, or watched through the window, son, I see you. I see you struggling with decisions and trying to figure out why the fantasies of childhood, don’t line up with the realities of life. I wish I had answers, but these questions are yours to answer. I listen when you talk. When you are sleeping I pray. I pray for your protection. I pray for godly wisdom to be a good mother, but I also pray that God will give you godly wisdom. I pray that He will guide you through life’s maze.
Now, I realize that mothering is the world’s toughest job. I’m reminded that people say parenting is the one job, in which your greatest accomplishment is to work yourself out of a job. I’ve decided that is not true. I cannot stop being your mother. Nothing can severe the ties of love, confidence, pride, and time. I can stop telling you what to do. I can step back and release you into the world.
I can let you go. It is hard. My heart breaks and I cry at night, but I can let you go. I can let you go because I prayed over your crib. I prayed over your bed. I’ve prayed with you and I’ve prayed for you. I can let you go, because I’ve done it before. When you were just a baby I let you go when I gave you back to God.
He trusted me to care for you. I promised before God and witnesses that I would do my best, with His help. You belong to God. I release you back into His care, not that you have ever been out of His arms. I will always be your mother. I will always pray. I will always be here for you. I will always be proud of you. Letting go is hard. Watching you turn into a young man is hard. Watching you leave the nest will be the most difficult of all, but I love you enough to let you go. I trust God, and I trust you. I know everything will work out fine.
When you have children of your own, I only ask that you realize what a blessing they are. I want you to know the love, joy, and pride that I have felt as your mother. I hope that you will pray for their care, but if you don’t. I will. By then, I will have been promoted to the next most difficult job. I’ll be a grandmother.