The Growing Thing

My eyes flew open at 5 a.m. this morning. The light of day already spilling in through the curtains, tickling my awareness. I lay there, in the softness of predawn, listening to the quiet of the morning. He was there with me, whispering words of love. Unable to rise, unable to slumber, we spent a quiet hour together, pondering life, resting thoughts on loved ones, and being in the moment.

My mind still groggy…ghostly thoughts…bodiless things floating up to greet; filmy, incomplete. I am reminded of times I sneak a peek at the boys before retiring. A peck on the forehead might stir a barely intelligible “I love you” in the dark. These dream I love yous never cease to stir, make my heart swell to bursting.

My Father looks at me this way.

And this thought brings more warmth than the sun, causes me to rise and worship. Candle lit, we meet in the usual place.

My head is full of last night. Celebrating over a hundred fifth graders. Children straining at their seams, longing to burst the confines of skin and grow…growing too fast. These little ones, not so little now, I’ve watched from kindergarten—some from preschool—as they blossom into these unique characters. Ones who love to dance, ones who love to be surrounded by noise—the deep bass of the dance music vibrating inside—and then the ones who just watch, content to be the wallflowers. For now.

They grow.

And I ask, Why do they do this, Lord? This growing thing? I cannot cradle him in my arms any longer.

He smoothes my hair, touches my cheek.

Because that is the way I made them, Beloved. His answer is clear.

I held Teddy at arm’s length last night, as we danced the mother-son dance with the other sweaty little boys and their mothers who were overdressed for a fifth grade reception. I tried to pretend he had his arms around me because he wanted them there, not because it was what all of his friends were doing. It felt so odd to put my hands on the shoulders of my big boy and move in time to this smoltzy music. He almost filled up my arms. He even tried to dip me once. But I know he would rather have left me standing by the punch bowl. I want to bury my face in this mop of orangey hair that has always been too thick and unruly. The hair he refused to let me tame before this overblown affair. I wanted to smell the baby shampoo in this hair that I used to wash…and am now no longer allowed to touch. But I restrained myself. And danced stiffly side to side with my little man.

I was a spectator most of the night.

And so it begins.

And I ask Him yet again another: How does one do this thing with grace? This growing thing?

This child of mine carries my heart, Father. My fear of watching him walk away with it is tangible.

I feel His arms around me as we sit on my dining room floor together. The scent of the candle making this place holy, the morning sunlight streaming through the bay.

He understands.

I think of the sacrifice that was made for me, and my heart grieves and rejoices all at once. Oh, Father, how did you do it? Did you avert your eyes to ease the pain? Were the heavens filled with your cries?

Oh, Daddy; Abba! How full of grace you are.

We must celebrate these milestones, as trite as they seemingly are. We must pass through these gates.

Give me your grace, Father. That I might do this growing thing gracefully. Oh, God, how I need you! And you wrap your love around me every time. Oh, Father, full of grace. Be glorified in this. Be glorified.


  1. says

    I love your opening! I felt as though I was right there with you at 5 a.m.–great writing, Laura! Very poetic!

    My baby girl is only shy of 9 months of age…and still, I miss the days where I cradled a two week old in the rocker. Grow they do…and so do we!

    Prayers and Blessings!

  2. says

    I am crying tears of understanding with you, dear one! But I muct agree with ‘tiggerdaisy’…”Grow they do…and so do we!” PRaise the Lord I am not the momma I was 8 years ago…let alone the woman I was!! One thing my boys have taught me is to live in the moment…fully and completely!! In a blink they will kiss their brides and walk off into the sunset! We can only pray they embrace the Jesus we raised them with as they go…what mighty things a man of God can do!

    Thank you also for the sweet encouragement on my blog, you are a gem!!

  3. says

    My sweet friend, You know I can relate to this post.
    You’ve read my blog. My daughter will be back in the states in 22 days. My arms can’t wait to hold her tight. I can’t wait to see her smile and look into her beautiful eyes.

    On the horizon…just 7 days away….my 2nd born will become an adult. She turns 18. In a fleeting moment she will be moving on as well.

    My first born son will turn 16 this year. He hugs me at home, but in public, well that’s another story.
    I see the shift in him that John Eldredge writes of in Wild At Heart. It has been there for a couple of years now…the need of mother has diminished the need of father has increased.

    These stages of life….they come…..

    I am glad we have Papa to show us how to let go with grace.

    I loved seeing your picture with your boy. It’s just so good to see your face!

    Hugs & Love,

  4. says

    I love the picture of you and your son dancing. That is priceless.
    Yes, our little ones do grow up.
    I remember how sad I thought it was when my kids got to the 5th grade and they didn’t have recess anymore. They had P.E. but no more recess.
    Have you ever read the poem about taking the swing set down? (something like that) It makes me cry every time.
    My son is now 27, but just as sweet as ever. He always tells his dad and me he loves us & hugs on us…no matter who’s around.
    As you know Kristen is 25 and got married a couple of years ago. Talk about hard. As exciting as it was and as much as we love her husband, we knew life would never again be as it was.
    I’ve loved each stage of my kids’ lives. Each stage brings something new and exciting. Nobody said change would be easy, but it’s all good.
    I have a feeling you’ll always be very close to your boys. They have a pretty special mama & they know they’re loved.
    Have a great weekend!

  5. says

    You look so beautiful in this pic! The two of you dancing brought tears to my eyes!
    Your son is one lucky little man to have a praying, involved mom like you!
    Thanks for sharing your moment, and congrats to your son on completing this phase of his life. Fifth grade was the hardest, most difficult year for me growing up. What an accomplishment!

  6. says

    No trite thoughts, no idle words from you…they are your very life Deut 32:46, 47 and underneath you are HIS arms to carry you through this. Middle school is a precious time where they move toward their independence. But you’ll always be Teddy’s mom offering him a lot of unconditional love and a taste of your God!

  7. says

    I love the picture!! You look like you are having so much fun (not sure on your son). That is so like a teenager!! I have all girls…I will cherish my grandsons when the time blesses us!!
    Can’t wait to meet you at She Speaks!!

    In his Graces~Pamela

    PS-Kelley has great talen-just ask her!! (not that you need that).

  8. says


    You echo the words of my mother’s heart only a year ago, when I watched my oldest graduate from HS. The day I took him to college and left him in that parking lot, I thought I would die. No one prepares you for moments of growing up and for letting go. No one, except God. Even then, the pain is palpable and real…a kick in the gutt that literally takes your breath away.

    Others told me I would recover. With three others left behind, I had little time for tears. But I found them, and they stayed for a long season, and then they dried up.

    Yes, I did recover, and as you move through these days of change and growth and feeling feelings you never knew possible, remember that God made your heart to feel with such depth. Your heart beats as it should toward your children.

    It doesn’t feel good to let go, but it is good and right. And because of your deep love for your children, you will be able to let go when the time comes.

    It’s the rhythm of life…embrace and release. How I pray for the grace to walk it through with faith.


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