I know he didn’t mean to hurt me. It was just a small show of boyish independence. Yet, that night, at that moment, it twisted and yanked and wrung my heart till not only tears escaped my eyes but sobs threatened to erupt from deep within my hidden places.
I have noticed the changes here and there in my oldest son. He is growing up. He is becoming more young man than little boy. His voice has changed. He would rather hang out with the adult men in our family than with his mom or siblings. He’s watching and repeating and assimilating all the man talk and gestures. He’s not my little guy anymore. A change has taken place. A call to independence for my man-child.
The knowledgeable part of myself was ready to accept this. My head knew this was coming and was a part of raising children. I knew I could handle it. I figured it would make me a little sad.
I wasn’t prepared for the emotions that took my breath away, the night my son made a silly, unthinking, yet somewhat truthful statement as I kissed him goodnight.
Nothing more. Nothing dramatic or disrespectful. Just a kid being a silly kid.
But that simple response from my first born caused my throat to constrict with emotion. Tears welled up in my eyes and I had to make a quick exit, but not before I poured an extra measure of momma love into his younger brothers.
Joel saw the whole display. He watched from the sidelines as momma gasped from the blow and son pushed on towards his goal of manhood. In the quiet of our room Joel wrapped his arms around me and told me it would be okay, that this was a boy thing. A learning to be a man thing.
I know. In my head, I know.
I just wasn’t ready for this.
I wasn’t ready for such independence. I don’t want him to stop liking my motherly kisses. I’m not ready for this pulling away. The inevitable separations.
In my heart I want time to stand still. My head only shakes slowing back in forth in pity for my heart. My mind knows. This is a rite of passage.
I wasn’t ready for the pain that wracked my heart that night. Tears threatened to spill and the ache in my chest was so immense that I struggled to take a deep breath. My momma heart cracked open a bit more that night and deep, guttural love spilled out.
I needed something little to hold. I needed a small someone to hold in my arms, to bandage my heart. I climbed in my baby girl’s bed and gathered her sleeping, precious form close to me. I buried my nose in her hair, breathed deep and cried.
I cried for the ache of my boy needing me less.
I cried because I still want to gather him up in my arms and shower his tall almost 6 foot self in kisses and hugs.
I cried remembering when he was so small and we snuggled and I carried him everywhere and he loved my kisses.
I cried because this boy who is pushing for independence and manhood is and always will be my baby.
When the flood of raw emotions subsided, I eased out of my daughter’s bed. I knew that this change was just part of the path of motherhood. I realized that it was just probably one of those teenage hormone moments. I took my puffy eyes and bruised heart off to my own bed to sleep off the disappointment of change.
Time has dulled the ache and I know my son, didn’t mean to hurt me. It was just a kid response that slipped out. And being the momma I am, I’m still giving him a peck on his forehead at night. I can’t stop kissing that big kids head. It is part of me and it just calls for me to place some affection upon it.
And just today I looked out the back window to see my big boy playing in the sandbox with his old rusty dump truck. My momma heart melted. He’s not too old after all.
Thank you Lord for my boy who is still boy, yet striving to be a man. I thank you for allowing me to watch the transformation in his life. He is a precious gift from you. May I forever be grateful for each step, moment and change that comes into my life through my son.