You say goodbye; I’ll say hello….
We carry our babies in our bodies. They are literally the center of our existence. They depend on us for food and nourishment. Our habits during pregnancy can determine everything about them in the years ahead. They depend on us for a firm foundation and an optimal start.
Our labor results in pain too great to describe, but too precious to forget. Our body slowly opens to release this precious little creature into a bright new world. Typically our babies cry out as a way to gasp for air, learning to breath on their own. We immediately seek to comfort them. We hold them close. The closer we hold them, they can pretend they never made the journey into the outside world. They are warm in our embrace and can hear our heartbeat just a few feet away.
We bring these precious creatures home asking ourselves, “What do I do with this tiny little baby?” Parenthood is the most important job we will ever do and it is the job we are least prepared to accomplish. Our mistakes may misguide them. We do the best we can. We don’t always do what’s best. God understands.
Their little tiny legs begin to crawl. Those legs support them as they stand for the first time. Their first steps are an amazing landmark in our lives. We can’t wait for them to walk and then we spend the remainder of our lives watching them walk away.
They go to school. They learn. They meet friends. They are typically mistreated somewhere along the way. We want so desperately to rescue them but we can’t. If we always rescue them, they will not learn to defend themselves. We are so afraid they will get hurt, but if we try to protect them from every danger how will they expand their horizons? We doctor scraped knees; we cannot heal broken hearts.
We want to protect them from the world. In doing so, we forget they are no longer deep within our bodies. They are no longer safe within our arms. They are no longer close enough for us to pick them up when they fall down. If we do not let go we, as mothers, make our children emotional invalids.
We can no longer act as if these children are lumped in with us. We must remember each child is a separate person and an individual personality. We may hurt with them but we cannot prevent their pain.
At some point, in every mother’s life, we must learn to let go. We must understand that the umbilical cord is cut at birth physically separating mother from child. We must also understand the emotional umbilical cord has to be cut if this child is going to reach their full potential. We must accept they will make mistakes but those mistakes are theirs to make. At some point, we must trust God when our influence runs out and the world comes crashing in. We must trust God and we must trust that our best efforts will eventually shine through.