He is sleeping peacefully while I am praying for peace.
And I pray for him, and for his teacher, and his classmates.
I can still remember the first time I dropped him off at the church nursery. I have the sticker from that day in his baby book. He was fine; I was not. And it was just the beginning of a lifetime of saying goodbye, of giving him over to someone to watch him during the time we left him and the time we got back … someone we had to trust to take care of him in the “in between.”
It doesn’t really matter our choices as a parent: if we decide to not work and stay at home, if we decide to homeschool … at some point we have to squeeze our child’s hand tight, take a deep breath, and then let go.
Our God knows fully about letting a Son go.
His very first pillow was in the shape of a star. Someone gave it to him as a baby. It was striped and khaki. And he loved it and took it everywhere we went until one day it got left behind. So I ineptly tried to sew him another one, and this time it was his favorite color — red. And he loved it even in its lopsidedness. It lay on the bed next to him last night as he slept. He was all stretched out looking big; his red star beside him looking small.
And this past year and this summer and this morning, I found how hard it is not to buckle under the weight of the fear of the unknown. And when I am buckled under fear, I have a choice to stand back up and claim them as ours or to stay down low on my knees and surrender them to the one who created them.
And I had to remind myself that parenthood isn’t just about God using us to shape our children, but it’s also about God using parenthood to shape us.
This morning, all four of us walked to school in the morning sun, and Ben prayed over him again as we walked. We reached the door of his class, and we took him in all hugs and kisses and chaos. He found his seat all confidence and smiles, and I snapped a picture determined not to cry. And just before I turned, he reached up his arms one more time, and I gratefully squeezed him tight, breathed deeply, and let him go.
And they were for me. So they would remind me that his Father loves him more than I do and He is holding him in the “in between.”