He’s completely outfitted in baseball gear. The grey pants are just a wee bit too big on his gangly frame and his blue Lego shirt doesn’t quite fit the athletic camp, but he loves it and it’s going to be a hot day. Yesterday I walked him into the complex, met his coaches, slapped him on his back and walked away. Two and a half hours later I came back and picked up an ecstatic, confident boy beaming from the praise garnered from attentive coaches and helpers.
The next day dawned and after the morning craziness I pulled into the parking spot closest to the door. Breathing deeply, I turned to Ro,
“So bud, you ready for this?”
“Yep!” he assured me.
“What’s my phone number, in case there’s a problem?” He rattled off the seven numbers faster than I expected. I had no more excuses. “Ok, bud, have a great time and I’ll be here to pick you up after practice. Swing hard, run fast.” He kissed my cheek, hopped out of the van and strutted towards the door.
He did it. I did it.
Walking into practice may not seem like a huge deal to you, but to me it was epic. I wasn’t sure if my son made it the fifty-five or so steps into the building and onto the turf with his coach, but after a good five minutes of sitting in the parking lot to assure myself that he didn’t need to come back out, I drove away, trusting that obviously everything was kosher because no one had informed me otherwise.
I’m a fearful girl. It’s weird to even write that, but it’s the truth. My imagination can get the best of me without even trying. The what if’s overwhelm and I can come up with every scenario from plausible to statistically improbable. If it’s on the continuum I can probably concoct it, but I don’t say that proudly. No, it’s something I’ve really had to work on. Today was one of those days–the one where I decide to put all my praying into practice and let my son take a wee step into becoming a more responsible boy. Instead of unbuckling two toddlers and hauling the infant carrier into the complex, I’m letting him walk in by himself and Lord knows I don’t feel ready, but he is and quite frankly, he has to learn to do this sometime.
I want to be perceived as a good mom as well as actually PERFORM as a good mom. Partner that natural desire with my personality (INTJ and a 1 on the Enneagram) and you have a recipe for skyhigh expectations and a fear of failure or anything less than perfection. This makes me extremely neurotic at times which can be both good and bad, but I hate to fail and what’s the worst thing to fail at: motherhood.
A good mom doesn’t let her child fail. A good mom doesn’t allow her child to get hurt. A good child doesn’t let her child walk there alone or do that or a good mom hovers and never lets her child out of her sight. All of these expectations and more swirl in my head, and I become more and more fearful of letting mys on spread his wings because WHAT IF…AND THEN? The fear and anxiety can drive a girl crazy.
LOVE > FEAR
He’s got crazy bright eyes that widen as he smiles and presently he’s missing one of his front teeth while the other adult tooth protrudes through his gums. His smile is all sorts of wacky and heartwarming. He’s all big brother to three girls and little brother to one and yet his boy-ness always makes itself known. Already wanting to protect us, he volunteered to ‘get his bat’ yesterday when we found a rogue woodchuck trying to inhabit our shed. (For the record we live in the city-ish…so a woodchuck in the shed was a big deal.) I love this little man-child fiercely and my first instinct is to hold tightly and control. To grasp onto and protect because that’s what mothers do, right? They keep their offspring safe.
I look at my hands and they’re just flesh. There’s a scar where I burned my hand while baking cookies for that man-child and my body shows the wear and tear of five babies grown and birthed and I’m reminded that I am just his mother and while that is a very important job, it is not all-powerful. No, indeed, I am not his Savior and no matter how much I plan and control and send lunches and worry my little heart off, I cannot offer everlasting hope to my Son. No, there’s only one who can do that. In fact He’s already done that.
So today, I sit in my car. He’s going to walk himself into baseball camp again and Lord knows I’ve prayed about it and he’s ready for it and I’m kind of ready for it, but he has to walk anyways. Fist bump and a hug and he’s out my door and quickly through another one. My prayers follow him like vapors jetting out from a comet and my eyes linger as I whisper one last remembrance, “He’s Yours.”