You think you can’t, but you can. Learning to let go of our children is probably one of the hardest things we have to do in this life. That tiny little person that God placed with you, flesh of your flesh, to be nurtured and treasured for a time, is a person all his own with a life purpose created in eternity past.
It began in the delivery room, the letting go. As that tiny body slipped from being a physical part of you to an independent existence in a big scary world, you had no choice. God’s plan is not that our children would belong to us, but to Him. Even though He entrusts us- even holds us accountable- with their upbringing, He always intended that they would be flung out into the world like arrows to impact the world for Him.
A thousand tiny acts prepare us for the day. First bites of baby food wean dependency on mother’s milk. Triumph of first steps carry tiny feet across the floor without our hand. First day of school leaves mom waiting anxiously for 2:30, unless of course you are a home school mom. And with homeschooling, you are keenly aware of the daily victories as that little one starts to sound out letters until one day, a word reveals itself, and a little voice shouts out “cat” with a startled look of joy. You are right there as the fractions that brought tears in a math lesson turn into the “easy stuff” that gives way to algebra and trigonometry. And suddenly, without warning in the midst of the daily chaos of motherhood, you reach the day of caps and gowns and happy crying. Somewhere in the daily challenges of changing diapers, cleaning messes, cooking, rushing to boy scouts, and stressing over which math program to use, a child grew up. And there is the reward.
Even though there may be tears of sadness that tiny voices no longer call out for a glass of water at bedtime and dimpled baby arms no longer reach up to be held, yet there is much in this new season to cause rejoicing. A lively debate at the dinner table reveals that my sons and daughter are thinkers with great insight to share on many varied topics. Their plans and hopes and dreams spill out in excited chatter while I cook dinner, filling me with happiness (and occasional anxiety as one son often describes his intentions to climb mountains and hike the Appalachian Trail!) I am as proud of their milestones today as I was when they flashed me that first toothless smile.
God in His omniscience knows more about the love of a parent than any one of us can fathom, and in His mercy, He built the letting go into the every day so we could grow into it a little bit at a time. As I savor the last three years of homeschooling my youngest child of three, I look back over the years of field trips, finger paint, and read-alouds on the sofa every morning, and I know beyond all doubt that I have been witnessing daily His grace. He has been right there with me, preparing me, leading me, and showing me that despite the world’s mantra, IT IS NOT ALL ABOUT ME. And it never was.