Saturday, October 28, 2017

another test flight...

A toddler screams, begs mom not to go, but she has to leave, to work, for the sake of the little one who cannot understand.  She prys him from her leg and makes a mad dash for the door, apologizing to everyone she sees on the way out.


“It’s ok,” I remind her, “he will be fine in about sixty seconds.” And he was. “It’s good for him to learn that he can do things even without mom around.” And it is.


My teenager-in-bloom smiles and says, “I get it, kid! Don’t let go of your mommy until you absolutely have to!”  I smile and sigh.  We are close, she and I, and thanks to our unconventional high school choice we have become even closer.  Yet, these are days of preparation for the next stage, and I want her to be able to let go, to learn and to grow without mommy around.


She’s in Florida this week with her grandparents helping out with Hurricane relief efforts.  She left before I got home from Outdoor Ed (a field trip with 5th and 6th graders.) It will be almost two full weeks of not seeing her before, Lord willing, she is home safe once again.


It’s a little letting-go, a practice for the bigger ones coming.


I remember when the girls were tiny, when our stay-at-home days opened wide before us.  They were my shadows as I learned the art of motherhood. We took many of our first steps together.  I remember huge brown eyes full of questions and wonder at the wide world around them. I remember how Lorraine would fall, and before she even cried she’d look to me to see how I reacted, to interpret her experience for her. I learned to hold in my own fear and my gasps, and to smile encouragement at her- even when I was afraid she actually hurt her sweet little knee.


I remember the courage it took me to let her sleep in the top bunk, and how we sang our bedtime prayers together. I remember her sweet little-girl voice and tiny hands imitating me as we sang goodnight to God:

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end, Amen.


How far she has come from those little-girl days, from needing me to fill her sippy cup!  How far she has come since that uncertain squawky mommy voice that led her in that song!  


Now, she is the girl whose mom still can’t even read music, and yet she can play piano and handbells and clarinet.  I remember when she played handbells, last spring, with her peers: she was just one blooming flower among many, playing her part to the glory of God, but my, how she shone.  And the complicated piece lifted my soul to heaven and spoke to me about the love and work of God.  As it ended with the familiar “Glory be to the Father,” I saw her in footy pjs singing with me, then growing so quickly into her womanly glory, and I marveled at the works of God.


God took that awkward song we sang together when she was little and he has made it richer and deeper for her; He has connected her with His church and His people, and given her a place to shine to His glory within it, and she does it with such joy!  How amazing is this God who multiplies the blessings He gives!


She is not mine, and the more beautiful she becomes the more I realize how little I have had to do with any of this. And yet, by the grace of God I have played a part. I have been given sweet days of nurturing and tending the garden where she and her siblings grow.  What better use can there be for this brain and this body, but to be poured out for their sakes?  


And so, I will continue to smile encouragement in her direction, despite my fears, and I will ask God to remove the selfish clinging and ugly sense of ownership from my mommy heart.   I pray that God will take care of her, without mommy around, and I can’t wait until she tells me exactly how He did just that.


And with the help of God I will let go, and I will celebrate with her, even when she is transplanted out of my home and my garden…

but not until I absolutely have to.

God, grow me up as you grow them up!

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