I’ve been looking in the rearview mirror of my minivan, right into my sons eyes. I love him so much it hurts, know what I mean? So much so that we fight daily.
The rearview mirror in my minivan gives me the perfect view of my oldest son. He didn’t used to sit back there. He used to sit right behind my seat in a carseat that his baby sister will sit in come November.
But he sits back there now, often preoccupied with something else, most times making some noise that seems like it shouldn’t be able to come from a five-year-old’s mouth. He drives me crazy and drives me to yelling some days. We fight and argue because I’m stubborn and because he wants to be his own person. Parenting is legitimately not for the faint-of-heart.
The rearview mirror is so irritatingly metaphorical. I look in that little piece of glass and see a son who made me a mom and who I might cry over later. I cried over him when he squirmed in my arms. I cried over him when he threw a fit on my kitchen floor. I cried over him when he hugged me tight after we both said we were sorry a few days ago. My love changes, and parenting morphs into a bigger, beautiful growth in my heart.
It gets easier, and it doesn’t get easier. It gets more complicated and important and less hands-on and more of letting go. It’s so frustrating and wonderful.
I’m not the same person I used to be. I’m never going to be the person I used to be. That’s what my son has done for me. It’s terrifying, isn’t it? The thought of one simple person who you love more than all things in life changing you–forever.
All of my sons have done this to me. They’ve made me weep and laugh and cheer, and I don’t tire of loving them. I tire of being their mom, though. I tire of being the one they need at all times. The promise of them one day needing me for nothing makes it easier and simultaneously harder. Yet I wake, everyday, and I see his face in the rearview mirror and remember how not long ago, he sat behind me, smaller than the seat he inhabited.
I started this work seven years ago. If I had a nickel for every time someone told me, “At least you’ll be young and full of energy when they’re grown!” I would definitely be rich. I’ve grown up with these boys, and it’s true, I’ll still be young when they’re adults. One day I’ll look in the rearview mirror, and they’ll be gone.
For now, I’ll stare at him a little longer in the rearview mirror. I’ll remember the way his face looks when we fought, when we hugged, when I told him I was proud.
And when we look back, may we say it was complicated and wonderful. Difficult and beautiful. May we look in their eyes and remember just how much they changed us and made us better. May He call us Good and faithful servants until the end.