Friday, February 10, 2012

Just a Weekend, Also a Beginning

I want to write him a letter.  Something he can take with him while he rides the bus.  I want to write down all the things he needs to know, the things I have been saying, for 13 years of his young life.  I know he is leaving for no more than a weekend... but still.

I watched him pack.  Snow pants.  Gloves.  Extra socks.  I watched him wonder what he would need.  He is nervous, excited.  I am, too.  All of this he packed neatly away while I watched.

Tonight, I will take my second-born and drop him off with his youth group and they will board a big bus and drive for hours and spend a weekend off in the woods laughing and playing and learning and listening. For two and a half days, I will have no contact, no word, no nothing... Well, not nothing... something, actually.  An opportunity... an opportunity to trust him and an opportunity to trust our Creator with the life and lessons of a boy that I call mine.

These transitions are always big for me.  Watching my kids walk confidently away is what I am raising them to do.  And yet, when it happens, my breath catches and there is a lump in my throat and I am overwhelmed with feelings of pride and sadness.  Longing and letting go, all at once.

Yes, it is only a weekend.  I get that.  Truly, I do.  But, if you squint your eyes and focus carefully, you will see what I can see that releasing him for a far away retreat is really much, much more.  It is part of the beginning.  Part of what is to come.  Part of my sweet Benjamin standing up and trying out the lessons we have given him thus far.  It is his first steps out and away and a time for him to look around and think through some things. It is a time for him to listen for God and wonder about that still, small voice.  It is a time for growth and a time to think about everything that has to do with who he is and who God is creating him to be.  A time... for me to see how little it is about me and how much it is about a plan that is bigger than mine.

And all of that is good.

So this afternoon, I will wrap my arms around my energetic, smart, joyful boy and give him a squeeze before letting go.  And I will count this as practice for what is yet to come.  I will trust that he is well and I will hope that he has fun and I will pray for his sweet self and on Sunday, I will bring him home.  Then, as he falls asleep, he will dream of things that are all his and I will fall asleep knowing he is home.  

This parenting stuff is work, I think.  And how strange the job really is.  We throw ourselves fully into family and faith, spending years and years working ourselves out of a job.  Holding kids closely while knowing that everyday brings us nearer to a time of trust and release.  This weekend, is just practice... and I am glad because I am not ready to let go of this one yet.

How I love my boy...

Blessings on your day.

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