I can’t tell you how many pictures I’ve taken, or how many images I’ve captured of my son throughout the years. But this shot–this picture right here–this one grabs me.
This one hurts.
The sweet boy pictured here has his whole life before him; plenty of dreams, hopes, and all the desires of his precious heart wrapped-up within his small, tweenage frame. They’re right there, just beneath the surface…
And I wish I knew what they were.
I know that sounds strange–odd even–but this kid of mine? This amazing boy God’s given me to raise…he’s pulling away. I feel it. I see it. I hear it in the way he talks, in the alone time he seeks, and the nature of our conversations.
He’s growing up…and I don’t know how to handle it.
I can’t tell you how hard that is to admit, or how much I struggle with this newfound reality, but I am struggling. The mama he used to run towards for hugs and kisses, Band-Aids and bedtime stories is slowly being pushed aside. He’s becoming more independent. He’s forming his own ideas and opinions. My son’s got a voice all his own and everything about him is indeed, changing.
Oh, how I used to know this kid inside and out—his likes and dislikes. This was the child who never left my side…the baby who always snuggled, and always smiled. This young man was once the little boy who’d planned on becoming a fireman, loved the color blue, and whose favorite pastime included anything (and everything) having to do with cars…and trains…and dirt.
It doesn’t seem like that long ago.
But those cars are gone. The trains have all been donated. And the stuffed animals that once graced his bed, held firmly within his toddler grip, are no longer.
You know, I can’t quite pinpoint when this transition took place or why it’s hit me especially hard this summer, but it has. God’s preparing my son for what lies ahead.
And He’s working on me too.
I’ve realized that I’ve got to adapt. I’ve got to begin to let go–to let him fly–little by little. I have to encourage my son’s independence and relinquish my attempts for the control I so desperately want to possess. I need to give him more space, just as I need to speak (a little bit) less and listen more.
It’s true. My son is pulling away. He’s desiring more freedom. He’s right smack in the middle of finding himself and his place in this world.
And I have to let him–whether I want to or not.
Are you struggling with this too, friend? Has your son started pulling away…transforming into the young man God’s created him to be? Here’s what you can do:
Breathe. Our boys are changing into young men and it’s not an easy process for any of us. It’s a delicate balance. There’s a lot of emotion involved. Understand their need for more space. Listen to their hearts (when they choose to share). Allow them to breathe.
Adapt. I wasn’t informed how heart-wrenching this would be or how much I’d long for the days of old, but it is, and we must adapt. We need to embrace this new stage; try and relate to what they’re going through, and be there for them throughout this phase and beyond.
Trust. This metamorphosis (of sorts) is just the beginning. I know there’s a lot more to come and I know it’s going to be a struggle. This mama heart of mine may just break (in half) along the way. Even so, I’m going to ask God for help. I’m going to seek His counsel, pray (a lot), and trust in Him. Always.
Jenny Lee Sulpizio is a wife to one, mom of three, and daughter of the most-high King, who tends to share (and possibly overshare) all things mama-related. To learn more about Jenny or to visit her blog, Mom on a Mission, head over to www.jennyleesulpizio.com