Friday, June 22, 2012

Roots and Wings and Caps and Gowns.. Oh My

Someone get another box of tissues, because apparently I've sprung a leak.

This is the morning of the oldest boy's, oldest child's, commencement.  In the evening we will be joining hundreds, thousands really, of others in an auditorium  to watch our first born and 494 other graduates receive diplomas signifying academic achievements. My son has much to be proud of. 

I am teary now and I have been teary for days, weeks months...who am I kidding?  I'm one of those crying types. 

So today, I sit and type through big, sobbing tears and I don't understand it.  He's not going anywhere for two months and he's not even going far to college.  It's just that sometimes my heart feels overflowing with the intensity of life.  I tried to explain to the 10 yo because he was trying to understand my's not sadness..exactly.  It's more like an intensity of emotion.

I see flashes of the past 17+ years so vividly.  I still remember the Husband's face when I told him there were 2 blue lines.  It may be the only time that man has ever been speechless. I remember the awe at the miracle of his birth.  I think love was really something tangible we could touch and hold in our hands in the predawn hours of that day.  I realize how fleeting those nights he slept no more than 5 minutes at a stretch really were.  They felt like they'd never end.  I remember the way he ran around at my mother's funeral like the perfect comic relief and the way chasing him was the carrot on the string that kept me from curling up in a ball of despair; his smile and laugh were sweet comfort.  When he was 3 and we were new to our church, his Sunday School teacher was convinced we'd never be back...the story of the widow's mite had him in tears.  When he was 6 he announced he was going to build a 1000 story building for all the homeless people.  He went through a phase where he wanted to be a roller coaster designer.  (He is, instead, majoring in civil engineering).  He is my personal tech support, the one who will not let his sister cry and will help his brothers with school work. 

I look at him and am so proud of this young man.  I see shades of the man he is yet to grow into and reflections of the boy he once was. 

We want to give them roots and wings. We want to raise them so they can leave, but no matter how great we can be as parents (and I am far from great), we cannot control everything and everyone, including the children.  I cannot always protect these kids from others or even their own choices.  Having a part of my heart walking around outside my body can feel a little like someone squeezing the air of my lungs.

So today, I will cry a little. (Little is relative.)  I will iron his shirt and smile with pride when he walks down the stairs with his tie knotted "just so".  I will hold this memory in my heart along with all the others I have been blessed with and there will always be room for more memories of him and his brothers and sister as they walk through this crazy, amazing adventure of life.

-Peace and Love (and where is that box of tissues?!)


  1. Having a part of my heart walking around outside my body can feel a little like someone squeezing the air of my lungs.

    This..these words...yes. Amen. Amen Amen


    gentle hugs from one J mommy to another.

    1. I remember those days! Now I have grandchildren, and let me tell you, more pieces of your heart living outside your body give you some of your greatest moments and deepest fears.

      All we can do is put our faith and trust in the Father to keep all of them safe and let them know they are loved.