It is late May, 1981 and I am in the springtime of my life. I’m in the hospital, cuddling my newborn son against my breast, a large pillow between him and the Caesarian incision. I gaze into his beautiful little face and realize a love I had never known. I have heard it said that “to be a mother is to walk around forever with your heart outside your body,” and for the first time, I understand. I realize with amazement that I would gladly die for this child.
Fast-forward to early September, 1999.
I am standing on the observation deck at Winnipeg International Airport watching a Royal Airlines jet take off for Vancouver. My handsome, six-foot-four son is aboard, excited to be off on his own for the first time.
How did this happen? Had this changing of life’s seasons transpired while I had my back turned? I blink back the tears and make some wisecracks to dissolve the lump in my throat. I’ll have a good bawl sometime in the next few days when I’m home alone and can do it up right. For now, I am thankful for his two younger siblings who keep me grounded with their chatter, singing, and bickering on the ride home.
If the season of raising children is summer and the empty nest fall, then it is the younger siblings who make the turning of the leaves gradual, gentle, tolerable.
When a child arrives, we know the day will come when he or she will leave. We prepare ourselves as best we can, and the thought that was almost unthinkable when they were still in our arms becomes a little more endurable through the high school years. Still, there is that ache, that beating of the heart so many miles away...though we know this is the natural order of life and wouldn’t really want it otherwise.
It’s why mothers need each other.
It’s also why we need God. For just as we could not bear the changes of our Canadian seasons without shelter, we need His constancy, His faithfulness, His shelter to endure the changing seasons of our lives.
Now enjoying this empty nest season of my life, I’m so thankful for a God who never changes. I know that my children are in His hands...that they were never truly in mine to begin with. And that there is no better place for any of us to be.
Happy Mother’s Day.