Letting Your Teen Go…A New Kind of Stretch Marks

My family and friends were at a restaurant playfully bantering, as is our custom. We are a lippy sort of crowd with (mostly) good-natured jokes and jabs flying often. After one such mother-daughter volley, my Very-Ready-To-Go-Senior turned to her friend and said, “Only six more months. I only have to listen to this for Six. More. Months!”   The whole table erupted in a knowing laughter. Including me. Except as suddenly as we laughed, tears started falling from my eyes. I mean, falling. Like rats jumping from a sinking ship. The laughter turned into this weird, awkward “Mom are you okay??”

I looked to Chuck for rescue. I didn’t even know what had happened in this blink of a eye. His eyes softened and he put an understanding hand on my arm. “Mama,” he said in a tender voice, “you gonna be okay?”

Oh, now I see why the rats were jumping!  The ship WAS sinking. Sinking.  “Sure, sure,” I choked out and immediately excused myself from the table to go cry in the bathroom.

Six months. My girl was going to be gone in six short months. I sat in the stall snorting and snotting and tried to remember the last time I felt this out of control of my own body. Oh that’s right. When I was pregnant.  Then, like now, there was a human being inside of me wrestling to get out, and I was trying to maintain my own mental stability while someone else was literally trying pull the life out of me.IMG_6854

I just want to say, very kindly for the record, the parenting books lied. At the very least, they lied by omission. They never forewarned us of the painful parallels. No one ever explained how the birthing process didn’t end at delivery and this grown up launching hurts every bit as much as labor. Liars.

They neglected to tell us that the incredible tension between “within you, a part you” and “outside of you, a part of you” never leaves. Did you hear me? It never leaves. Remember the internal battle?  How the warm fuzzy “I love creating new life” feeling warred against the “get this kid out of me” reality. I experience this same supercharged battle every day with my woman-child who is now kicking at the wall of my heart and home the same way she kicked at the wall of my womb.

I catch myself just looking at her like I did when she was a newborn. Of course she won’t let me hold her like I did then. But I try to soak her in, to capture every detail of how she has grown and changed, fully aware she is not done growing and changing. Only from here on out, I won’t have a front row seat.

Whew. There is that lump again. The out of nowhere lump in my throat that keeps catching me off guard. It beckons just like a contraction, a painful reminder that an inevitable life-change is on the horizon. And we are never going back to the way it was.  The other day, I was making work plans for the fall when the “contraction” hit. I had to stop and swallow down some maternal wail because, for the first time in 18 years, my plans would not involve my daughter.

Gulp. Sniff.

Here are a couple of God kisses for you mamas on the same heartwrecking roller coaster I am, and a little heads up for you mamas following close behind.

“There’s No Magic Formula.”

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You’re My Beloved

It is so perfect that Valentine’s Day falls so quickly after the last Unhindered Encounter. Watching God literally sweep women out of their pews and off their feet is truly “supernatural.”

You heard Him clearly. You didn’t hear Him clearly. You are messed up. You are naked and exposed. You are confirmed and affirmed like never before. So I wanted to offer this bit of coaching for the “now what” phase we all enter.  The only thing I can tell you is let go. Let go. Continue letting go. I told a friend of mine this morning, “Just fall into His arms.”

When I get bound up in questions like, How do I look?, Is this right? Am I on track? — my eyes are still on me. It is a lot  like when you are learning how to dance; you watch your feet. But when you look at the face of the person you are dancing with, you let go of getting it just right. Look into His face. Sure you will stumble and step on His feet, but His arms steady you. Over time, you will begin to feel the rhythm of the music, the feeling of His embrace. If you will let yourself go,  you stop worrying about what your feet are doing because you just want to move to the music. Move to His music. And keep asking for more.

You know what I am going to do today? I’m going to make Him a Valentine card. I want my heart to be His. So I thought I would stretch and see what happens when I ask Him to be my Valentine.  Remember it is about the dancing, not the feet.

Just enjoy the process of discovery. He sure does. “I am my beloved’s and His desire is for me.”