Parting is such sweet sorrow…

He’s not going to be reading this anytime soon. But one day he will, and there are days like today that I want him to know about.

Not now – but when he’s older.

Today sees him start another stage of his life where he goes to spend one more day a fortnight at his other home. For him it’s great – he loves the idea that he’s going to get to spend more time with the other family of significant people in his life. Me, I’m a bit sad. Since he was about 3 1/2 he’s been living between two homes. He’s done it well I think, better than most I’ve seen. But tonight I’m going to be honest, I’m struggling a little – there are still two others in the home and their chatter kind of reminds of the one who’s not here. Mainly I’m reminded of that because for a change I can hear someone other than him talking. 😉

Sorry Boy, but you did chatter an awful lot, and yes it did appear to annoy me sometimes. You probably remember the rule I made when we were living on our own, you and me, the one that said you had to quiet on the drive home until we had reached McDonalds and that then you could talk to me after that. Thanks for abiding by that one it helped keep me sane after a day of students asking questions.

The fact remains that I miss him and do from time to time get a bit sad. I know that he misses us too, it’s obvious, when he returns he takes a quick inventory of what he’s missed out on, what’s new and “who ate all of that”.
He doesn’t know how much I miss him – I don’t tell him – for a few reasons. I don’t want him to feel that my happiness hinges on him, it doesn’t. My joy should come from the Lord. My boy is not the one responsible for my happiness, he is certainly a blessing from God but he’s not “mine”. Secondly, he needs to be able to be happy where ever he is without worrying about me or my wellbeing. No child should ever feel responsible for how their parent feels at any given time. The way I deal with my emotions is my choice. It is not wise, considerate or loving of me to tell him that he makes me sad when …. that would certainly be manipulative and certainly wouldn’t contribute to him becoming a well rounded, responsible, compassionate, considerate human being.
Yes, he’s my child but that doesn’t make him my possession. And it certainly doesn’t make him the key player in my pursuit of happiness, meaning or lasting joy. All of these things can only be found in God.

I hope that this was something I showed you from time to time Boy. I didn’t always do it well – but hopefully I did it enough.

Days like today remind me that he isn’t my little boy anymore.

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He’s growing up. His shoe size appears to be increasing exponentially. I have a list of nicknames I’m no longer allowed to use. His sleep patterns are intriguing, his appetite continues to grow each day. His sense of humour develops more and more, and his vocabulary is quite impressive at times. He’s not grunting yet, but I can see that day approaching.
He’s growing up. He’s moving away a little, figuratively – in a good way – but it’s still a bit sad.
He was on camp earlier this week. When he got off the bus he spotted me, walked over, looked me in the eye and said “Hi Mum” as he handed me 50 cents, his change from the $10 he’d had to spend. It was the look in his eyes that got me …the look that said/begged.. “Please, don’t hug me in front of everyone…” I didn’t. I’ll be honest I knew the day was coming. I thought it might have been a little further off, that’s all. After all I’ve only just convinced him to stop calling me “Mummy” at school, maybe I’ve brought it on myself. Don’t fear though, I did get a big hug once we were home – so it’s all good. I’ll take those.

The fact that he is off again for a bit longer is a good thing for him. It is, for him, another step in the direction of independence – a direction I’ve been encouraging him in for most of his life, a step on his pathway to adulthood.

Days like today make me think of him, who he is and who he’ll become. I know that he has my eyes, my skin, probably my hair colour, my love of books, drawing and unfortunately my “love” of competitive sports. What I hope he has, more than anything though, is resilience to get through the days and times ahead. In his short life he has demonstrated amazing resilience. And I am incredibly thankful for those of you who have constantly prayed for him and me throughout our years.
What I desire more than having him with me, is that my God becomes his, truly, irrevocably his. I desire that he chooses to walk the narrow way, that he becomes a man of integrity, honesty, faithfulness, a lover of justice, a husband and father who can be trusted, respected, obeyed and honoured.

So he’s away for longer now – and I guess the arrangements will continue to change as he gets older. But the truth is part of why I’m a bit sad, is that he is still kind of a little boy in my heart.
I know I’ve had to let go of him more often than I’ve wanted, I’ve certainly had to let go of him more often than some mothers with adult sons have managed to. I know that each time I let go of him a few opportunities present themselves. One is that I get to commit him more often to God. Another is that I am reminded that he is not mine – he is God’s. I am reminded that of all the relationships I have in my life, the one I have with God should be my first priority. I am reminded that I need to commit my anxieties, my worries, my concerns to my God who cares for me.

So Boy as I said to you a while ago when you asked what we do when you are away – one of the things we do is we pray for you. If you are reading this now you can guarantee that we still do. And yes, I did miss you a lot. Sometimes I may have shed a tear or two. But through it all I knew that God had a plan for you, part of it was for you to be in this mixed-up, backwards and forwards life and that has been a huge contributor to who you are now. Remember that. I believe that the complicated life you lived when you were younger has made you uniquely fitted to deal with people in your circles who deal with difficulties like the ones you’ve lived through. I trust that you have used these opportunities to grow closer to God That’s what we pray for you all – all three of you – day after day.
Use it all for God’s glory – it’s what we are trying to demonstrate for you.
Somedays we might do it better than others.

P.S. I really hope Boy, that you got the Shakespearean reference in the title today. If you did, I think my work is done! 🙂

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