When I was in 4th grade, my teacher organized a career week. Parents came in and shared about their jobs, training, and day to day responsibilities. It opened up our world and caused us to ponder what we might like to do later in life... beyond "I want to be a fireman or President of the United States."
One parent came in wearing an apron, her hands full of kitchen tools. She must be a chef or a baker I remember thinking. As she began her presentation, we soon discovered that she was a "homemaker."
That isn't a legitimate career, I thought. That's what my mom does. Only as she began to describe her day to day duties, I realized she had a very complex and important job. I had never seen my own mother in this light, and came to understand the significance and intricacies of motherhood on that day.
Mrs. B's presentation profoundly affected me. At the conclusion, she took off her apron and removed a pair of long black handled scissors, and with tears in her eyes, she cut the ties of her apron. I think I gasped, knowing that she had just ruined this article of clothing. And then I listened, while with tears welling up in her eyes, Mrs. B said that someday her job would be complete and she would let her children go on to be adults who would no longer be tied to her in such a special way. Mothering was preparing your children so that one day you can cut the apron strings and know that they will be just fine.
Even though my children are still quite young, I am working toward cutting the apron strings... just a bit at a time.
I am trying not to be a helicopter... the kind of mother that constantly hovers over her children. Is that safe? Is he old enough? What if he gets hurt? Don't you want to try it this way instead? Hovering when I should perhaps be giving them a bit of space to learn and try and even (gasp) make a mistake here and there.
In the last year, due to my illness, I have not been the ever present mother. I was worried that they might suffer, being deprived of my input and constant care. On the contrary, they have thrived and learned, and grown without my hovering supervision.
I learned that Josh can write a 15 page state report... completely on his own, following his teacher's instructions with great diligence. And get an "A" on it. He can create his own unique style from his closet... and looking like Justin Beiber is ok. He can get snacks for his brother and himself, and they have never once come close to starving. Jason became a proficient reader, swimmer, and skater when I wasn't even looking. This weekend, his dad took him up to the park with his bike. No mommy there to worry about a fall. He rode with courage and pride on the very first try, and when I arrived at the park, he already looked like he'd been doing it all his short little life.
|Concentrating so hard...|
|My baby J-bear is growing up.|
|There's my cute little Beiber!|
The year has been a good reminder to me that my children are a gift, and I have been given a tremendous privilege in being their mother and raising them for a short while. But ultimately, their lives belong to the Giver. He has taught me to let go a little bit more, so that when the time comes, I can make that final snip, and I will gently nudge my babies out of the nest so that they can truly fly. They will soar into the future with what they have learned and the gifts they have been fashioned with, to carve out the life God has graciously given them.
And I will be holding the apron strings with great joy and love in my heart, ready for a new season.
But until then... I will enjoy these wonderful moments.