There is an old, famous poem (and I’m sure most people know who wrote it, but alas I do not) that says “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may….” I don’t even know the rest of it- just that line. The significance of it hit me tonight. We came home from church and the boys went off with a friend to hang out instead of having dinner with us. “Doing their own thing” is a theme in my house right now. So it was just Emma, the husband and I around the table- and it hit me. I am at a crossroads in motherhood.Two nights ago after a particularly tough conversation with my 15 year old I was feeling down. And to be honest, somewhat sorry for myself. It’s hard work loving a teenage boy who is not in the mood to love you back, but rather to let you know just how much he thinks you should be different. Less or more of anything than who and what you are. Ouch. Then today my oldest walked in to announce how delicious his friend’s mother’s birthday cakes are. “Not that yours are bad, but hers are just so much better” (I’m paraphrasing but that was the jist) This is the same child who I overheard telling a friend that his birthday party is kind of a disappointment this year. Sigh.
They are pulling away. It’s time and it’s normal. And it hurts. I want them to grow up and become men. And I want them to always be close to me. But I have to let go of the one to allow the other. So as I’m feeling all this emotion I look up after dinner to see my nine year old twirling around the living room with her daddy, dancing and laughing. In a split second, my boys were nine and seven and we were around the table listening to music and cracking jokes at dinner every night. They were imitating daddy and vying to get our attention with jokes. I blink and they are annoyed, distant teenagers, struggling with all their might for independence and freedom. I realize with a sudden feeling of panic and a lump in my throat that hurts when I swallow that very, very soon my nine year old will be in the same place. Oh I know it’s a few years off- but considering that 17 years has felt like a slow blink, that hardly comforts.
This is me on a sad day. Not all days with teenagers are like this. Mainly I have loved my sons journey’s into these years. But today I feel the loss. How I want so badly to slow time down and let me make sure I poured enough love and faith into them. What if I didn’t? What if I missed something terribly important? How I worry that our relationship will never quite be as close as those early years when they could climb up in my lap for hugs. How I wish I could know what goes on in their heads and hearts, but understand the need for them to keep some feelings and thoughts private. And the need to share some with anyone but mom.
I have many rosebuds I can no longer gather. And I have some left to pick. I intend to make the most of the few short years I have left with my sons at home, and continue to treasure every second I’m given with my whole family under one roof.
And pray like crazy for the grace to hold them with an open palm.