This week, it happens. The first day of school thing.
I’ve been excited for my son for weeks, up until last week when it became real, and we got to see his class. Part of me wanted to run with him and his little brother out the door. The other part of me committed immediately to never ever sending him to school ever. I didn’t want this to be his class, his teacher, his place to grow up a little more. At least once a day, I touch his face and look into his big blue eyes and smile to myself as I wonder, How is this my firstborn son?
I’ve prayed a lot for this moment. Writing about it felt easy. Just let them go. We teach them so they can learn to fly on their own. But saying it is so much easier than following through. He’s about to do this big, brave thing, and I’m about to watch him go, and I’m holding back a lot of tears here. A lot of memories are far too close to the surface that are threatening to overtake the smile I want to plaster on my face.
But this week, it happens.
God consistently finds ways to remind me of a truth that I didn’t know quite so well even five years ago. I don’t have to be prepared for what is coming for it to arrive. I don’t have to have a real, overjoyed “Go, honey!” attitude or smile on my face while I send my firstborn son to school. It doesn’t mean I’m not filled with joy. It doesn’t mean I’m not excited for what it is to come. It just means I can live in reality, and reality means that sending my son to preschool has made me cry, because I remember him as a baby. I remember holding that little boy and teaching him to run. And somehow, we’ve arrived at the moment where I’m suppose to let him fly. It makes me want to praise God for everything that He has given me, yet weep for the time that is too quick to pass.
Motherhood is so raw and sanctifying. I remember when Liam was born, and I just couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe that I had pushed an 8 lb baby boy into the world and into the arms of so many people we loved. I remember the first few nights of being a mom for the first time and thinking I was not fit for it. I was not going to survive, probably, and if I did, it would be by a miracle I could not produce. And then we did, and it was like fear had a lesser meaning. Liam taught me so much in so little time. That’s what motherhood does to you.
We have arrived here. I have this boy who is smart and inquisitive, quick to build incredible space ships with Legos and giggles whenever daddy chases him. He leads his brothers with confidence and the surefire attitude of a firstborn. He loves his brothers. He teaches them when I’m not around, and he fights with them just as much. But I am so proud that I get to be his mom. I wouldn’t trade this moment for anything.
I get to watch him fly this week. And if you see me, I’ll be trying to smile, but probably failing because I’ll really be trying not to cry my eyes out. It’s because I’m just so proud of my son.
Liam, fly high and go far. I can’t wait to hear of the adventures waiting for you.