Lord, have mercy-
There’s a cap and gown hanging in my son’s room and it’s taking my breath away.
He’s graduating in a few days, and I can’t believe how fast the time has gone. (Did you maybe spin the earth a little faster on its axis for the past several years? )
He’s ready…but I’m not sure if I am.
Because since the day he was born and wrapped his tiny fingers around mine, my heart has been living outside of my body. At that moment I understood the concept of unconditional love—including your love.
Thank you for making me his mom…and trusting my hands to care for this little human’s life when I had no clue what I was doing.
This parenting journey has been the hardest, funniest, stinkiest, most terrifying, inspiring, holy mess…and there are a lot of parts I messed up that I wish I could do over.
Please forgive me for the times I was exhausted and bitter and wanted to give up. Forgive me for yelling a lot. Forgive me for not paying attention. Forgive me for forgetting things. Forgive me for dropping off my 6 year old son and leaving him unsupervised for three hours at the sketchy roller rink because I had the wrong day of his friend’s birthday party. Forgive me for all of the mistakes I made as his mom.
And please help him forget this stuff—or at least help him forgive me if my failures screwed him up.(Hopefully you can turn the consequences into something positive—like the development of grit and resilience.)
Thank you for the sweet moments too—there were soooo many of those. The baby snuggles, the funny toddler sayings, the little boy hugs, the crappy mother’s day craft gifts and Popsicle-stick Christmas ornaments that I can’t ever throw away, the hoopla of snow days, the sight of 10 pairs of sneakers in the doorway and the house packed with friends, the camaraderie of other parents on the sidelines of at least 1,000 soccer and baseball games, the family road trips, the conversations around the dinner table and sitting on his bed whenever I still remember to tuck him in at night…THIS is what I’ll miss.
But most of all, I’m going to miss him in the ordinariness of the everyday.
Because being by his side and watching him grow up for the past 18 years—on the good days and the bad—has been the greatest joy and privilege of my life.
Oh Lord, release my grip and give me the courage to let him go. (You’re gonna have to pry my fingers back a little.)
Remind me that he is yours…that he’s always been yours.
Remind me that you’ll be with him, especially when he feels alone.
Remind me that your love for him is even bigger than mine.
Remind me that I’ve done my best to raise a young man who follows you.
Remind me that letting him go is a much better alternative to letting him live in my basement forever.
And while you’re at it, please remind him of all of the above too.
Lastly, please give me the strength to celebrate this milestone without ugly-crying during graduation. I’d prefer not to show up in family photos of this special day with a streaky-red-puffy-post-meltdown face.
Because I want him to know that I’m more proud than sad. I want him to know that I’m more excited about what’s next than afraid. I want him to know that I believe in him. And I want him to know that I believe in YOU.
Lord, in your mercy, hear my prayer.
P.S.—Please, PLEASE keep the rain away during our graduation open house celebration, because I forgot to rent a tent and 150+ people are just not going to fit inside our home.
[This article by Kami Gilmour was originally published in May 2016 on soulfeed.com. It’s now an excerpt from a chapter in her new book, Release My Grip, Hope for a Parent’s Heart as Kids Leave the Nest and Learn to Fly