My oldest son is three when I watch him fall face first into the pool, an accident which could have cost him his life if adults were not nearby. He is fully clothed and without a flotation devise, trying to reach a toy that drifted away from him. Fortunately, my sister-in-law sees him immediately and quickly pulls him out, unharmed.
For months after the incident, Jaden is terrified to go in water if his feet do not touch the bottom. Gradually, with the use of swimmies and life vests, he gains confidence. Then one day, when I phone the grandparents where he’s staying for a few days, he tells me he’s been, “diving into the pool all day.”
He hears my smile over the phone.
This journey of motherhood is a constant balancing act between pulling back and letting go.
I push him to keep going when he falls down, but restrain myself from pushing too hard. Sometimes I wonder if I’m doing it all right.
I see him finding his way, making friends, rising above the influence of the mean kids, and I’m filled with a sense of pride at how far my child has come. And then he gets off the bus after his last day of kindergarten and I just want to freeze frame that moment. To slow it all down and stop the ever fast movement of time from one day to the next and the next.
I breathe and I soak it all in. I try to never miss an opportunity to tell him I love him.
As I open my Bible to spend time with the Creator, I turn to the promise He’s given me for my children.
“Train a child up in the way he should go; And when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
I own it. I pray it. In every way possible, I instruct him to the right path, and then I give him over to God.
Some days I wake up and the road is hard. The boys are fighting, my tongue gets harsh and I yell. These long hours of parenting wear me thin and I fail, over and over again. And on days like this, I am quick to say, “I’m sorry” and ask forgiveness.
My kids need to see that while I am a parent, I am also a human who makes mistakes. The balancing act between pulling back and letting go also means letting go of my need to always be right.
I’m constantly learning the steps to this dance, and I know that my feet may stumble. Some days require a little more letting go. Other days scream to pull back. But as I move my feet and my hands, finding the groove as a go, I know that I am not alone. My husband takes one hand as we reach toward our Father with the other.
Together, with all three of us moving in sync, anything is possible.