Tomorrow when you wake up, you will have to let go again.
You will pour cereal and smile at sleepy faces. You will pack the lunch and breathe a prayer. You will grab the keys and kiss their heads and tousle hair.
You will help them take this step. And even though you will want to turn the car around, and around and around until you find yourself in their old newborn nursery with the crib and the lamp and all these days still ahead — be brave.
You show them what brave looks like. You move forward with hope. You’re living the example that growing up is good and more time given is a privilege. That we were not placed on this earth to stand still or to go back– but to move forward in faith and courage. To be lights.
No matter how the shadows of this world lengthen, our role does not change. We are the lights. We may often lay down heavy hearted at the state of the planet we will awaken to, but this is the purpose of lights. It’s what they do. They shine in dark places. And the light that shares your last name? You’ve been preparing them to shine since they padded around in footie pajamas.
They are ready. And so are we. And the moment we remember that they were made for this– to go out and shine– is the moment our grip loosens with a little less fear and a little more peace. Our hands relax to open and offer back what was given us for a season.
If they forget to stop and turn and wave, it is only because you gave them courage and confidence. They haven’t forgotten.
If it feels like they need you less all of a sudden, it is because you were there, all those days when they needed you more than anything.
Whether they stare in the face of preschool or fifth grade or freshman year– your job is the same as you take a breath and take a step back.
Step back knowing that God never does. Not for one second that they are out of your sight, will they ever leave His. When your arms aren’t long enough to pull them back, He is firmly holding them right where they should be.
And the soul ache- heart ache- head ache of watching them walk away? It’s the seared mark of a deep abiding love. We are rarely ready to let go of what we love the most. But letting go is holy when it makes room for God’s glory. So, yes. Take the tiny step back that feels horrendously risky. And know that there is no risk too great when true obedience is present.
Tomorrow in houses strangely lacking the din of summer togetherness, let us remember to pray not only for God’s protection over our children– but for His glory to be seen through them.
Let their kindness be clear, their hope be sure, and their belonging to Him be deep in their bones.
Let them come to us when they feel too much or not quite enough.
May they know who they are because we have written it upon their hearts with a thousand conversations.
May God fill in all the spaces where we fail them.
May He be the One they know as the standard for love and acceptance.
May they make their schools better by their presence– lighting up corners and sparking from cracks.
May they be known as true friends who speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves.
May they shine, diamonds on a backdrop of midnight– reflecting the Light of Christ.
Also, it’s completely acceptable to sit in the parking lot, cry, & page through all those mental snapshots of their baby days. Wear the dark sunglasses and know you are not alone. And neither are they.