I pause to watch you while you sleep just as I have done almost every night since you came into this world. The bed that once seemed to swallow you, now can barely contain you. I stand riveted to the side of your bed as flashes of your precious life flash before my eyes. The memories play in my mind like scenes from a movie. I can so easily see the eager little baby legs pumping in excitement as daddy brings you to me in the morning. As can almost feel the remnant of the sloppy kisses on my cheek – the ones you used to give so generously. I see your inquisitive toddler self asking me to “’s’plain” something that you wanted to understand. There in the forefront of my mind is your preschool self so carefree and full of laughter. I can see you on your first day of school. I can see the little boy on my counter who just lost his first tooth. I remember the fear your first ER trip brought. I am awestruck at the love you have shown for your family ever since you were born. You are my little boy, yet you’re becoming a young man.
Where has the time gone? You will not understand this question until you are watching your own child sleep someday. I must confess that I grieve those days that have passed, and yet as I watch you sleep I also see other days – days yet to come – and it is like balm to my soul.
I can see you learning to drive. I can see you going on your first date. I can see you learning more than you ever thought possible. I see you reaching for your dream. I see you seeking out a comforting hug when those dreams are harder to reach then you thought they would be. I see us talking through your first broken heart. I see your smile at graduation. I hear the sound of you opening a college acceptance letter.
I can see your life as if a path stretched out before you. So far on this path I have walked closely beside you; holding you, taking your hand, urging you forward. Far to soon though, you will begin to walk along this path without me being so close. Oh, I will be available. I will gladly come running when you need me. But the path begins to narrow and I must begin to step aside.
Oh my sweet boy how I pray that you will stay on your unique path. While it is no longer going to be big enough for me to walk side by side with you, it is always big enough for God to walk with you. Stay close to Him my love. Know that He is there. You will not always be able to feel or see Him, but always trust that He is indeed there. He will show you the way to go.
As time goes on, friends will try and draw you onto their paths. The world will call out to you from what looks to be an easier and more fun path. Do not join them. God has you on your path for a reason. Your path will lead where God wants you to go.
I pray that you will always allow the Holy Spirit to guide you. I pray that I have loved you well and taught you well. I pray that as you continue to grow and become more man than little boy, that we will remain close. I pray that you will always feel comfortable talking to me – about anything. And I promise that I will always try to listen more than I lecture.
I never knew how much grief would be a part of motherhood. I grieve what our relationship used to be. I grieve the little boy you used to be. But at the same time I adore what our relationship is now and what it will be, just as I adore who you are and will be.
You are precious. You are smart. You are special. You are funny. You are a treasure. You are talented. You are a joy. You are loved. Please don’t believe anyone who tells you differently. This world can hurt. Circumstances can hurt. People can hurt. But God heals, God holds, and God gives hope.
I will ALWAYS be here. Always. I am your biggest fan. Your biggest cheerleader. But God loves you even more than I can. He is love and He loves you.
I am so excited to watch your story unfold. I am so happy for this new chapter to begin in your life. I promise I will hold it together on your birthday. But tonight, just for this moment, I will let myself grieve your little boy era. I shed tears for those precious yesterdays. But tomorrow, tomorrow I will rejoice. I will cheer. I will sing – for you.
And I will always, always love you.