This week has been a test of mama strength for me. Or maybe it was a test of my willingness to let go and trust God to take care of my kiddo?
You see, my oldest child lives alone, about an hour or so north of Houston. Watching news reports about rising floodwaters in Houston kept me glued to my phone, watching for texts or phone calls. I kept imagining her climbing out onto the balcony of her second floor apartment, waiting for a boat to come by and rescue her.
I could picture her using candlesticks or plastic spoons from her kitchen to spell out HELP on the roof. Maybe I have watched too many rescue movies. All the worst-case scenarios played out in my mind as I watched from afar and prayed she was safe.
The truth is, during the hardest part of the storm, she was just getting some heavy rain, but nothing dangerous. As the storm passed and the next few days of rain continued, she repeatedly assured me that she was safe. But as a mom seeing the horrific flood reports in Houston, I just could not relax if I did not hear from her every four to six hours to reassure me that she was really okay.
The storm passed now. The rains finally slowed. And somehow, she made it through just fine without her mama there to protect her.
While that is wonderful and I am deeply grateful that she is alright, it also makes me a little sad. Knowing that my daughter doesn’t really need me twenty-four seven may be my goal as a parent but it sure is hard to swallow when it comes down to it. Clinging to adult children and forcing my presence when she is capable and mature and responsible and wise enough to handle hard things alone is not smart. But as a mom, I guess I will always hold concern for her safety and health, even if she is grown and able to take care of herself.
As I pondered all of this in writing this column, I remembered that I often learn deep spiritual lessons through events of day to day life. This was no exception. I was reminded that no matter how many years we protect our kids, rescue them from dangerous situations, help them make good choices and guide them, there will come a day when we have to let them handle the storms of life (both figurative and literal) on their own.
Those days are hard, but we have to trust that we did a good job raising them and believe in the knowledge and wisdom we gave them to get them through the hard decisions and tough times that inevitably come. We must know that we invested eighteen (or more) years under our roof so that they can go live under their own roof and take care of themselves.
To all you moms and dads in the early years of parenting, hang on tight. Hold them close and prepare them for life ahead. There will come a day when you aren’t there to lead them, but they will be okay because you will do a fine job today!