This week my youngest, Addison, turned 13.
Will, our middle son, will turn 16 in less than two months.
And two days ago, my oldest, Jack, turned 18.
13. 16. 18.
As a wise woman once said...."Holy Toledo."
They are getting so big, these boys of mine.
And therein, lies the rub....
The bigger they get, the less they are mine...
the more they are their own.
Earlier in the week, I was driving Jack to play practice,
and the tears began pouring down my cheeks.
Mostly because the space around me was quiet enough for
my subconscious thoughts to pierce through the chaos that is my mind.
Jack looked at me, surprised and said, "Mom, are you okay?"
With a crumpled face I looked at him and said, "I'm going to miss you, Jack."
He put a hand on my shoulder and said, "Mom, I am going to miss you, too.
And its okay. I will still visit you."
Jack will be going to college in 5 months.
I have said it out loud and now it is real.
My Aunt Mary had 7 boys.
She said that when they were very small
it was as if they were held in the center of her palm with fingers closed,
sheltered, protected, nestled in her care.
As they got older, her hand opened, fingers out, palm flat,
giving them a solid place to spring from, ready to fly.
Jack is ready to fly.
But deep in my soul, I have an urge to scrunch up my flat palm, squeeze it tight
and make Jack stay. Just a little bit longer.
This is the thing.
I have always thought my boys were the most beautiful boys in the world.
(As all moms the world over do.).
Getting to be these boys' mom has been my most life altering, heart wrenching and glorious work.
I can't imagine my day without the beauty, the joy, and strong presence of Jack.
(CAN HE BE ANY CUTER?)
But I despite my deep inclinations to hold Jack so close,
I am choosing to keep my palm flat...and steady.
Just like my parents did for me.
They let me go and discover the world on my own terms.
I had their love and strength and wisdom backing me,
but they let me fly and fall and fly again,
always believing that Jesus would guide me and hold me close.
I don't want to hold Jack back. I want him to soar.
He needs to be shaped and stretched.
He needs to form his own decisions and his own faith.
He needs follow his own path, discovering the world, both its beauty and it ugliness.
The ugliness part?
That is hard for me to reckon with.
But navigating the ugliness, in the world and in ourselves, that is what makes us grow.
It shows us our desperate need for Jesus. For love and mercy. For goodness and hope.
I know that Jack has to learn what we all have learned...
that when the darkness surrounds him,
when life is disappointing,
when he fails himself or others,
when he falls and has to get back up,
when he is tired and disillusioned and wanting to give up,
there is grace, unending abounding glorious grace, to be found. Enough for each day.
He can know that Jesus is there with forgiveness and strength to hemming him in on every side.
My prayer (HELP HIM, LORD) is that in the midst of this world's ugliness,
Jack finds himself to be a bringer of hope and beauty.
A conduit of laughter and wisdom.
A Jesus follower that shapes the world around him with love.
Because I believe the world needs a good dose of Jack.
God has crafted Jack's heart and mind in a unique way.
I see his care of others. His belief in himself and his friends.
I see the way that he is able to take a complex thought and break it down
so it is easily understood by those he is helping.
I see how his laughter and goodness build others up.
He has a way with words and can bring almost anyone around to see his side of things.
He is trustworthy and generous and loyal and crazy smart.
So. Here I am. I am realizing that in order for Jack to fly? I have to let go.
Loosing the strong ties that have bound me to Jack? That is where the tears come in.
I have been holding on tight. Super tight. Crazy Tight. Couldn't hold on any tighter.
Because his journey is absolutely not going to follow that path that I would make it follow if
I were the one calling the shots.
I know this because I am a control freak and I have tried to make my own journey follow
the path that I thought it should follow and it totally didn't, and hasn't. Not even this week.Which is completely frustrating and exhausting. Trying to control every minute detail of my life wipes me out.
So Jesus is once again using my kids to show me that I need to...
LET. GO. AND. TRUST. HIM. EVEN. WITH. JACK.
So I am going to.
I trust Jack. And I trust Jesus with Jack.
And I cannot wait to see him....fly.