The day my first son was born, that precious day, my husband placed his tiny body in my arms and his eyes caught mine and I kissed his wrinkled forehead and I whispered the only thing my heart knew: "I'll never let you go."
I'll never let you go.
A few hours later, the nurse came into our hospital room and told us she needed to take him "for just a little bit." But my heart heard, "You'll never see him again."
I didn't want to let go.
That little bit felt like hours and the not-wanting released hot tears down my cheeks as I waited for her to roll him back into our room. Which she did, much to the relief of my husband who just wanted an hour of sleep and a cure for his hyper-emotional wife.
I was learning that ancient tug:
I had to let go.
What no one told me about motherhood, what a new mother's heart is too young, too tender, too new to understand, is that motherhood is a thousand letting gos.
My tiny son. I've been letting go his whole life.
The first day I dropped him off at the nursery at church, screaming and pulling at my shirt. Letting go.
His first time down the big slide. Letting go.
His first day of preschool. Letting go.
His first overnight at Grandma's without me. The hardest letting go.
His first day of Kindergarten. The HEAVING sobs of letting go.
When he turned the corner on his bike. Letting go.
Handing him an iPod and the scary world of technology. Letting go.
And this year, middle school. OMG, middle school. Can I carry him in on my hip?
I still have a thousand more to go.
Over and over and over.
My heart, since the moment I first laid eyes on him, has always beat easiest to every mother's favorite anthem: I'll never let you go.
But I'm learning: He isn't mine to hold onto. He is God's child before he is my child and my holding on would only keep him from his God-designed, made-just-for-him adventure.
That big slide? BEST. DAY. EVER.
Turning the corner on his bike? Breeze-in-his-hair, not looking back, taste of sweet freedom.
And, now - middle school? "I got this, Mom."
Letting go. So I can hold onto God's promises for him:
Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
Isaiah 43: 18-19