Over the weekend, my eight-year-old son (whom we call Monkey) was helping me clean the house. He lifted up a doily off of the end table, held it up to the light and proclaimed it looked like a rabbit. I affirmed his declaration and cautioned him to be careful because the doily was my grandmother’s. Monkey gave me a quizzical look, put the doily back on the table and continued dusting the next item.
I associate many items in my home with their original owner. The green afghan is not mine but my mother-in-law’s since she’s the one who made it. I feel the same way about the black and white afghan my sister-in-law made. It’s Doris’ afghan. The doily’s are Grandma’s, the nightstand is Mom and Dad’s, the cake stand is from the unnamed person who hosted the garage sale where I purchased it. I don’t know why I ascribe ownership this way but I do with almost everything.
Everything except my kids.
I’ve been told over and over my children belong to God, but it’s easy to believe and live as they are completely and totally mine.
I carried them for 9 months.
I gave birth to them.
I potty trained them.
I drive them to school.
I take them to clothes shopping.
I took them to the doctor and held them on my lap when they were sick.
You get the idea. (I don’t want to negate my husband’s role. He was every bit as present in our sons lives as I am). I don’t think I’ve fully comprehended or understood that these three hooligans belong to God; at least not on a heart level until recently. Our oldest is turning 18 next month. He’ll be legally an adult. He’s in the car so much going out with friends, to school, and to work. College and scholarship applications are on the horizon. He’ll have to register for Selective Service.
Soon it will be time to release him to the world and as much as I’m looking forward to the days of just the hubby and I alone in our house, I don’t want to start letting go. It feels safer to have my boys here with us. Nothing gives me more comfort than to know each brown haired boy is in their own bed every night. But I can’t keep them here forever. They have to start forging their own path.
I can’t protect them. I can’t prevent bad things from happening and I can’t stop them from making bad, or contrary, decisions. I can’t stop hurt from entering their lives.
I hope I’ve done right by my son, and by God. I hope I did the best parenting job I was capable of doing.
It’s time to trust God and my son.
So…how do I do that?