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.
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.
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.