Wednesday, March 16, 2016

how to hold onto your (used to be) babies

I was just sitting at the kitchen table yesterday, minding my own business, when a singular revelation hit me like a lightning bolt.

I haven't seen that green blanket in months.

You know, the one my child couldn't live without for the first decade of his life? The comfort he demanded as a toddler. The one he held close to his face while he guzzled a sippy cup of chocolate milk. It is the blanket we washed so many times it got dull and frayed and lost its silk edging. I used to worry he would take it with him to college because that blanket was more of an extra appendage than a large piece of fabric.

But now it's just gone. I don't know when it disappeared, or where he put it, or what he would say if I asked him about it.

I know it's all normal and healthy and to be honest I'm not all that sad the blanket is gone. I just wonder how I missed its grand farewell.

How do they do it? How do these mythical creatures called children transform right in front of us? Why can't we get a notification on our phone when some major change has occurred? We need to know when they've figured out how to draw their own bath and make their own hot chocolate, or when the first crush has hit their hearts and please, please Siri, set off a siren alert on the day they really figure out who they want to be most of all.

Raising children is like watching an old movie without any sound. You really have to pay attention. Everything happening is incredibly dramatic, but if you take your eyes off the action, you'll miss the best part.

I missed the blanket graduation because I was looking somewhere else, I guess. I just stopped looking for it. I think it's a sign I am doing this mom-thing right. My eyes aren't on who they were, or who I want them to be. I'm staring straight at who they are, with a side-eye on where they're heading.

Because that's what this life is all about: loving them well, sending them out, watching them rise up as men and women of greatness, full of God's glory.

All my love and hope welled up inside me and I painted a blessing for this Great Adventure. We all need these words around here: Go. Seek adventure. Climb mountains. Love well to the very end.

This is the only thing I know to do to hang onto these babies of mine. They're too fast for me to chase and too heavy for me to pick up. They're too smart to need help with the big words and they can do all their math on their own most days. They are making plans and dreaming of up schemes that don't include me. They're ditching younger ways and growing so tall and strong. I am in awe of the mystery and the ache and the deep, deep love I feel.

So I hold onto them by telling them: Go. Seek. Climb. Love well. I believe in you and your dreams.

I'm their biggest cheerleader. They're bound to come home for some rest and a piece of chocolate cake. I'l always be waiting, holding, loving. These four people are my Great Adventure. Loving them well by letting them grow up and away is my mountain.

Watch me Go.

(Note: I may be holding a discarded blanket on this part of the journey- just for a boost of courage.)

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