What just happened? My oldest son just graduated from the 6th grade. The SIXTH GRADE!
People, do you know what this means? It means that in a mere 6 years I will have a child who will be attending senior prom, graduating high school and preparing to be launched out of the nest and into college life.
Six years ago I had a little boy who, with a fresh haircut, freshly pressed clothes, a brand new backpack and a semi-toothless grin, was wrapping up his first year of kindergarten. A little boy who had mastered his ABC’s, 123’s and had learned how to “play well with others”.
That little boy isn’t little anymore. He’s right at that point of life where he’s too old to be a child, but too young to be a man. That awkward point of life when he thinks he’s right and we’re wrong about 90% of the time, but still needs us to hold him up when he falls down. That terrible point in life when friends start going different directions and he isn’t sure if he’s going to follow or forge a new path, bringing others with him. That beautiful point in life where he earns his parents’ trust.
He’s growing up.
And with him, so am I.
When I first became a mom 12 years ago, I knew everything. Really, I did.
I knew how to make a baby sleep through the night.
I knew how to teach a child to obey and how to instill good manners and values in my child.
I knew how to manage my time so my child would never feel neglected or alone.
I was awesome.
And then, when I brought that 9lb 2oz bundle of preciousness home, he showed me I knew nothing. AT. ALL.
Talk about humbling.
No matter how many books I read on how to do this or that with regards to my beloved baby, he would do something different and show me that I needed to learn how to be a mommy. I could watch others, ask questions, read books… all of those things were fine, but nothing taught me how to be a mommy except my beloved son.
And you know what? I’m still learning. I fail EVERY DAY. And not just once or twice a day, but often.
I yell. I mutter things under my breath in frustration that I would be ashamed to say out loud (I’m being honest here).
I cry. A lot.
And I laugh.
I relish in the amazing ability my son has to love me anyway. How he forgives me when I don’t deserve it. How his 5’2″ lanky self falls into my arms and asks for a hug so many times a day.
And I love.
I have learned to love in a way I never knew possible. It’s the strangest thing ever, to be so angry at someone for talking back at you and not being so mad about what they said, but instead have my heart hurt so deeply because the choices they’re making are just not okay for them.
To feel absolute euphoria for someone else because he reaped the harvest of working hard after a long, painful time of wanting to quit.
It’s a love that I could never have understood until I had him.
And this is just from my perspective.
Imagine God’s absolute joy when He sees His children following His instruction and reaping incredible blessings. There is nothing like the reward of a proud parent.
Or His sorrow when we walk away from Him, telling Him He doesn’t know what He’s doing and that because “I don’t get my way, I’m LEAVING!” only to end up getting hurt.
Or the grace; the absolutely undeserved kind favor He shows us when we come back. How, when we cry out, “I need you after all!” He welcomes us with open arms and no condemnation whatsoever.
He just says, “I’m so glad you’re home!” and shows us that amazing, unconditional love that only the best parent can give.
So on this day, when I’m reflecting on the last 12 years of my Bubba’s life, I am humbly reminded of our need for our Father’s guidance, patience, wisdom, forgiveness, grace and above all, love.
My prayer is that my son (all of my kids, actually), will look to God in heaven as the ultimate parent, trusting Him for guidance and instruction as he continues to grow up. For in all the ways I screw it up (I just told #4 in a less than loving voice, “5 MORE MINUTES or you’re in TIME OUT!” and gave #5 a lollipop at 8:45 in the morning to keep him quiet), Jesus is there to pick up the pieces and make something beautiful.