There is so much of mothering, being a parent, that is wrapped up in mixed emotions. As a mother it is my job to teach my kids how to unwrap and put to use the gifts that God has given — to help them flourish as they were created. With each step of growth, it can feel like a step away. A step away from me, from under my wing, from needing me, from my protection. Away. And away they must fly.
It is, of course, my desire for my kids to soar. I have every confidence that they, indeed, will. But sometimes it catches my breath — makes me pause, take stock. Today I watched as my two little ones played and laughed. It surprised me for a moment to see my littlest, the baby no more, chase after her brother as they ran trucks side by side. When did this happen: that she tosses her head back in laughter, spouting a language all her own, trying to keep pace with her hero? I still feel her bundled tightly to my bosom, sleeping most hours of the day. I’ve been through the days, hours, the painstaking minutes with her, but to see the picture at large can come as an abrupt surprise. There is a tethering; my job is to teach, to model, to provide safety and security. The connection is my love.
Some days I desperately long for the time when I’m not so physically needed. When I don’t have to carry a child on my hip just to make dinner, when I can go out to dinner whenever I want because I’m not nursing a babe to sleep. When I can have a little more breathing room. Other times I feel as though I can’t bear the loss of it. Either way, I know those days will come, just as this one did.
Right now, I’m admiring the beautiful beings that my little ones are, and reminding myself that they won’t always be so little. My heart is thankful, and my prayer is that I can see their steps not as steps away, but steps toward soaring with God.