Road Signs 

My son is a junior this year, so he’s not graduating and heading off to college, but he will soon. That moment is looming in front of me like a huge sign: not necessarily a stop sign, but maybe a yield sign.
I have several friends whose children are graduating this year and I can’t empathize with them, but I can imagine what it might feel like. Just maybe. 

Let’s get something straight, though: I’m not longing for the days when he was little. I’m not wishing he didn’t grow up so fast. I just want him to stay. Stay with me just as he is right now.

As a parent, you go through so many stages with your children, and it seems like after the angst of the teenage years (for them and for you), you come to a place where you really enjoy your children. You actually want to be with them, as people, not your kids. You enjoy watching them discover their gifts, seeing them blossom, interacting with other people. 

I know that once T leaves the house for college, things will be different. Things will change. But I want to think, I need to think, this isn’t a stop sign. I need to yield. I need to yield to the doubts I have about missed opportunities, missed wrestling matches, missed time. Yield to his blossoming, yield to life, yield to God’s plan for him. 

As a parent, this is what we raise our children to do, isn’t it? This is why we send them to the best schools, make sure they study, say “please” and “thank you,” and brush their teeth. We’re preparing them to fly. But it is so damn hard, this letting go.

I think, “Isn’t this why I brought him into this world? To become a person who contributes to society? Falls in love, has his own family and successes?” But then I remember, we wanted to have a baby. Now we have a man. 

I pray for all of my friends who will be approaching that signpost. I pray for your yielding. And I pray you will be there for me a year from now with a shoulder and a box of tissues.

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