To all the mothers and grandmothers out there, I hope it was a marvelous Mother’s Day! God blessed me with the love of a wonderful mother, fabulous mother in law, precious grandmothers, and loving aunts…truly gifts beyond comparison. I have been even more blessed to know the precious joy of motherhood. It is a deep, abiding love that is hard to put into words. Perhaps you will get a taste of it with this little story in honor of Mother’s Day. Enjoy! Blessings to you this day!
Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
Proverbs 31:31 – NIV
The car was packed. He had everything he owned in there. Clothes and camping supplies filled the back end of his white Subaru Outback, the storage carrier on top crammed with skis and rafting gear. His mountain bike was strapped to the tailgate.
At the gas station, our tan Ford F-150 truck was parked on one side of the bank of gas pumps while his loaded down Subaru occupied the other. We were going to fill up his car with gas one more time. Eric put his credit card in the pump and started the process. Grabbing the handle of the gas hose, Jonathan began pumping.
It was a beautiful September day, a gentle breeze blowing, the crisp feel of fall in the air. The cornflower blue sky glowed with the golden sunlight that comes with autumn in the Carolinas. It was a perfect day for traveling.
I stood there watching my tall, handsome son, taking in his soft brown eyes, short brown hair and that manly beard. As Jonathan pressed against the car, his white Hard Rock t-shirt stretched taut over his broad, strong shoulders. His body was lean and muscular, the kind of physique you would expect from a ski instructor and rafting guide. With a wistful smile, I said to myself, “My outdoorsman. My adventure seeker. Yes, my boy is all grown up.”
Answering my gaze, he smiled at me, forging ahead with small talk, trying to keep the conversation light. He knows his Mama. He knew it was hard on me to watch him go. As excited as he was about the new adventure ahead, I think it was hard for him to go, for him to leave us. Like me, he knew this was it.
He was headed back to Breckenridge, Colorado to pursue his second year as a Level 2 ski instructor. This year, he was setting off to find a place to live, something permanent with a year-long lease. He planned to stay there at least two years, acquiring more training and experience before moving on. There would be no coming back to Tennessee as he did this past summer. He will stay in the West, finding a new river rafting challenge out there.
As I watched him chat with his father, I reminded myself yet again, “He is happy. He is doing what he loves, chasing his dreams. It is as it should be.”
You raise them to be independent, and then they are. You have to smile and accept it, because that’s the way it’s supposed to be. I would not want anything less for him. I want him to be motivated, dreaming dreams and following his life path. Do I wish he was closer? Absolutely. But that is not his dream, and I wouldn’t squelch his passions just to have him settled nearby.
Just yesterday, the nurse was handing me that tiny baby looking so small and fragile in that little white blanket. I had stared at that tightly wrapped bundle, thinking, “Wow! How in the world are we going to do this?” For all my fears, there was nothing I wanted more than to be his mother.
Images flooded my mind: the grinning toddler at the top of that big yellow slide, eyes shining with excitement; the fierce four year old poised on the starting blocks, ready to race; the nine year old boy in the bright blue coat and tan knit cap bouncing down the London streets; the wide grin of the young man behind the wheel, driver’s license now in his pocket. I recalled the handshake with Mickey Mouse, the racing adventures in the Jeff Gordon jacket, our little story circle as the three of us read Harry Potter out loud together.
Now, twenty-four short years later, we were sending him off. The time had passed so quickly. I remember it all. I loved every moment of the life we shared as our little family of three.
He must go, but the memories will not. They are locked safely inside my heart, forever to be treasured. Standing there on that gas station pavement, I gave thanks to God for the precious gift of my son, for the tremendous joy he brought to my life. I prayed as always for his protection and direction, that he would be the man God created him to be.
The gas pump clicked, the gas tank full. It was time. He bent down just a little to grab my waist and hug me tight. “I love you, Mama.” I had to stand on my tippy toes to reach my arms around his neck and pull him close. “Oh I love you, buddy!” He squeezed me that much tighter before pulling away.
Then he reached for his Daddy, one of those manly back slapping hugs, and yet, it lasted a little bit longer than usual, ending in a tight squeeze before they both pulled apart. There was love in those hugs from our now grown son.
Jonathan turned away then, circling the car, putting some distance between the emotion that bounced around the three of us. He was calling out, ”Maybe we can meet for Thanksgiving in Texas with the family. Maybe that will work out.” With a big grin and a long last look at each of us, he opened the car door and slid behind the wheel. As he cranked the car, Eric and I headed for the truck. We followed him out of the gas station and down the road. We watched in silence as the turn signal flashed, and that loaded down white Subaru took the entrance ramp onto the highway.
He was launched.
O Lord God, thank You for our precious mothers and grandmothers, for the love they have shared with us, for the grace they have shown us. May we honor their gifts of love by sharing love not only with our children, but with all those we meet and greet. May Your love be seen in our smiles and steps today and every day.
In the Loving Name of Jesus, we pray,
Mother’s Day Blessings,