I sat in that auditorium with 6000 other parents/family members – all cheery faced and excited to watch their teenager walk across the stage. I wondered if I was the only one that secretly wished that my kid had failed a couple of grades. As I sat there I replayed so many moments in my head – this was the day or reckoning – this was the day of true sacrifice.
When our babies were newborn we dedicated them to God. We stood in front of our church family, locked arm in arm with each other, faces beaming with pride and gave a vow to God to raise our children to be Godly people. We gave them back to God – we admitted that He alone was the giver of this precious gift and that we would ultimately trust Him with this precious life. Then we strapped our sleepy bundle of joy back in their carseat, covered them with a blanket, went home, locked the doors, tucked them in to bed and listened to the baby monitor all night long…..prepared to jump in to superhero mode if we heard so much as a whimper.
As the years went by, we walked them to school – I trust you God. We watched them as they walked down the hall to class (out of sight of course) – I trust you God. We screened friends (and their parents), we called cell phones, we waited up, we made balanced meals, we monitored homework and internet use – I trust you God. We lectured, we loved, we laughed, we cried – but today…….today felt different. I couldn’t follow him down the hall. My moments were slipping away, like sand in an hourglass. Soon the rubber would meet the road. Would I really trust God with my precious gift? How could anyone love him the way that I love him – how could anyone know him like I do – how could anyone truly understand what an amazing heart my boy has??
To you, he looks like a teenager. Gangly and clumsy – growing in to a fine young man. You may see a US Navy Sailor – the one who will defend the freedom of this great country. You see a young boy full of hopes and dreams – full of puppy love for the high school sweetheart he will leave behind. His future seems bright – the possibilities are endless – he is excited to start his journey. So why do I feel like Abraham – leading Isaac up the mountain. Why does my heart feel such pride and sorrow all at the same time?? Gladness and grief both struggling to occupy the same spot in my heart??
As I sit in the stands and watch my boy, now a man, make his way across the stage, I am overcome with fear. How do I let him go – how do I know that I’ve done my part - how did the years slip by so fast, so unnoticed? I scrutinize every word, every action, every moment and I know that now is when I must truly trust God to take care of him. Now is the true dedication – now is when I really lay him before the throne. Now is where I let go and letting go is hard – he is my boy, my friend, my biggest blessing and my hero – I will miss him, his laughter, his sighs when I ask him to take out the trash – even his dirty room. And my heart aches because I know that this moment changes everything.
This boy that we’ve spent the last 18 years loving and protecting will get hurt, he will fall, he will fail, he will get his heart broken. He will probably see atrocities that most of us only see on television, he will bear a weight that many of us cannot even fathom. He will be lonely and scared – he will cry – he will miss my home cooking. I know all of this and yet I must lay him down – I must let go. My opportunity is gone – my role as his mother is changing with every second – now is where I realize the weight of the vow that we made all those years ago……