Dearest O (on the occasion of finishing grade 1),
I had a bath while you watched t.v. I traced the paths you stretched into me with my finger. The thin red lines that forever changed the way my body appears. I thought about the ways you stretch me now, how it was easier when I forever said goodbye to bikinis. Now? I watch you stretch my heart, how far it can expand without breaking completely. You stretch my ability to trust and not worry (as you learn doughnuts on a quad…I’m pretty sure I said no dirt bikes…but anyways…here we are).
You stretch me. First flesh and now spirit.
I know you feel it too. The first taste of mortality, of flesh. I’ve watched you this year, watched as you learn about your weakness, and perceived failure. It causes my whole body and spirit to heave in the ache with you. About a month ago you got the stomach flu and we both got scared, remembering all those nights in hospital with the unending virus. And you looked at me, your big brown eyes creased with a fear and said “Oh mom, how will I ever be a super hero if so many things trip me up?”. This was, it would seem, the first thought you had that maybe this particular dream might not come true.
Life was easier, wasn’t it? When I made sure that the kids we played with were nice to you, when I choose activities I thought you would succeed at. You have to fail at things now, face conflict and I must confess, it is so hard to watch. In fact it is nearly impossible, because the truth of the mater is I have more faith in you than is logical too…you are a super hero in my universe and my eyes don’t seem to see you with much realism. My pride in you is something like intoxication, all I see is the miraculous wearing flesh, shock and awe that you came to be in our home after all, after I nearly gave up that dream.
I have to tell you the secret though my friend. We are not called to succeed the way the world sees it. I will never hope that for you. You are a part of the upside down kingdom where the last are first and the weak are the strongest. You are called to seek placement with the broken-hearted and the system weary and the unloved ones. You are one of the joy dwellers, the hope bringers, the peace keepers, the light holders. Most of all we are grace chasers, picking the crumbs we need, leaving a trail behind us.
That is a lot of words isn’t it? It boils down to this: Our legacy is love…of God and man. That is all.
So forgive me, when the fear of man looms large and I care more about how you behave than where you heart really is, causes me to compel your facade. Sometimes I want you to be the best athlete, the best student because it is fun to win and because it matters that you work hard in whatever is set before you. Always remember though, your success or failure in any of it doesn’t define your worth, will not change your true status, cannot make your dad and I more or less proud of you. That issue is settled…remember? I have no capacity to see you rightly. I think mamma eyes are glory laden and perhaps we can only see the heaven in our kids…an extraordinary capacity to ignore the hell.
You will stretch me again. You will make me transition again, release you, let you go, trust God with and for you. I will watch you stretch your wings and I will chase behind you with my butterfly net, thinking I can catch you if you fall. Knowing I cannot, but still, I will be there…watching you take off for your very first flight.
Wherever you crash, you will find me there beside you, seeking the hidden treasures and finding ourselves walking on water. We will find beside us those who fall through our societies cracks, the perfectly shaped holes for the meek and mild and we will walk beside them.
With all my love,
The Least Super Mom of All who loves you MOST.
Linking with Emily and friends! I’ve missed you all and look forward to reading!!!
I could hardly finish this – made my heartache as I think of my own four year old “cape-wearing” little boy who is growing up so fast. You capture the hopes and fears and struggles of mamas so well in this.
Thanks Amanda! So scary and hard to release them…
As always, I am overwhelmed with your writing, my dear. Beautifully done and heart aching when I think back when you and your siblings were young.
Thanks so much mamma! Love you…can’t help but think of that one awful day when I found my head in your lap for all those crying hours…Thank you!
oh. i just LOVE her superhero comment. and i love your reminder that it’s the UPSIDE DOWN kingdom that matters. i have so much to learn.
Melissa, I want to cut and paste this into all three of my son’s books.. .you capture the heart of my and I am sure, most mother’s hearts. Those of us with sons have this overwhelming job to grow our boys into strong men yet want for them to be left under our wings pertected… thanks for the reminder friend…We want the Boys whom look to the Lord and not the world, to be ok with last and not always first…this is so fitting for today for my life. Your words Melissa are a gift to so many…keep writing!