I see you hovering at the base of the big slide, ready to catch your little daredevil as he proudly descends the last of the challenges this big kid playground has presented. And I am aware of your young mama heart, a little sad that he’s already conquering these obstacles.
I see that tear you just wiped away, dropping him off at Kindergarten. Oh, I know you are mostly relieved and have already calculated the minutes of freedom, but I sense that small little knot in the back of your throat as you hold it all at bay.
And suddenly, you are at fifth grade graduation, feeling him pull away as he rolls his eyes at the button down you’re insisting upon. I see the hand that trembles as it pushes open the elementary school door for the last time.
I see you laying on the couch in the dark, waiting for the front door to open. I hear your whispered prayers that all is well. For years and years you whisper, May all be well.
And after you fill bags of trash and complain about dirty socks and candy wrappers, I see you all alone in his empty room wondering how you’re already moving him into college. I can hear your heart pounding in the silence.
I feel your fear heavy upon your chest, growing as he grows.
Will he find his path? Will he find his people? Will he find God? I notice the weightiness of your concerns etched in your face.
And then it’s time to pose for photos, to surround your cap and gown-clad boy-man. I see your tears shift from sadness to pride and back again as you side squeeze him in picture after picture.
I know you wear that shirt from where he works because you’re so proud of him, but I also see you watching the videos his company puts out of things you only care about because he is a part of them.
I see that after you watch one, you check your messages. You wish he’d let you have him on Life360, and you are really curious about how he is right now, this minute. Does he have friends? Is he eating more than pancakes? Did he try that small group again?
I see your worry, so big you can hardly hold it because your little daredevil is facing challenges that are literally out of this world. But they’re also the big ones, with gravity, that matter forever. And he’s so, so far away. I know. I see that tear.
I’ve seen all the tears. In fact, I’ve been collecting them all the while you’ve been collecting teeth and bad artwork. I’ve kept them for you because you thought with each shedding, something was ending, once and for all.
I knew one day I’d need to tell you that it doesn’t work that way. The tears lead you through other doors, through other endings that lead you through other doors, and on and on. It’s how this works, this thing called motherhood. And the tears? They are your biggest gift. They remind you you’re alive and you have loved. It’s why I kept them for you.
Beth Bruno lives in Colorado where she and her husband lead a team of ReStory™ experts at Restoration Counseling Center. Additionally, as a podcaster, author, and content strategist, Beth guides women to raise fierce and lovely teen girls. When she’s not creating something new, she and her family enjoy the mountains, traveling, and good food.