Awestruck, I gazed at the little bundle in my arms. I gently caressed his silken head. Marveled at tiny fingers and ticklish toes. Considered how God had made him to look so much like me. I wondered what his future held. Pondered in my heart hopes and dreams for that future, nurtured during long months awaiting his arrival.
New life. No small miracle. No, it was a tremendous blessing and a huge responsibility. He was perfect in every way. And I would be a perfect parent, not like mine.
As I rocked and hummed, my mind strayed to another time. I’d been searching for a Mother’s Day card. All had sung the praises of Moms who had been there for their children, helping to make them the wonderful people they’d grown to be. How could I give her a card like that? I wouldn’t mean it. It would be a lie.
Caught back to the present by little fingers entwining my own, my heart melted anew as I watched him take in his surroundings. He had taken my hand almost as if he understood how much he needed my guidance in the years to come. And I would be there for him.
As the years flew, he took my hand less and did things on his own more. I wasn’t prepared for this. I thought it got easier as they grew. Diapers, colic, and midnight feedings… Potty training, pre-school, learning to read… Baseball, sleepovers, taking Driver’s Ed… Eventually he stopped listening to me. I found myself calling Mom more, and relying on my own wisdom less. And she was there for me.
When I shopped for Mother’s Day cards, I had a different outlook. Yes, Mom had made her mistakes. And I was making mine. But I finally understood—she had always tried to be there for me. Her intentions were always for my best because she loved me. I bought her the cards that sung her praises. And I meant every word. It wasn’t a lie.
Cancer claimed Mom’s life while my son was a young teen. God gave me the courage to give a eulogy at her funeral, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. She had gone home to her heavenly Father, and it was her wish for all in attendance to know of His forgiveness and grace.
As the years had passed, the tiny bundle had become a rambunctious toddler, full of shenanigans. The toddler became an awkward schoolboy, always ready to play a prank. The schoolboy became a gangly teen, searching for acceptance amongst his friends. He’d often been challenging and hard to handle.
These days, I gaze up at a 6’3” boy in a man’s body. The once-silky hair is now coarse and cropped close. His long fingers now fill out hands almost twice the size of my own. The smooth baby cheeks are now rough with whiskers unshaven. I still ponder what the future might hold for him.
No longer does he take my hand. His eyes often roll with impatience over things I say when I attempt to guide him in his choices. He is going his own way now. He has no interest in following me.
But he still looks like me. In fact, he has the same expression I had for my own mom so many years ago. How I wish I could spend one more day with her, mining the depths of her wisdom. How had she stood it, the distance between us, our disconnection? How had she borne the weight of my scorn?
Deep down I already knew. She had turned to One far wiser than she. She prayed for me when I was ungrateful. She loved me when I was unlovable. She had never given up on me. Neither had He.
Now, in turn, I go to my heavenly Father:
Father, I have done the best I can. My best is not perfect and is incapable of making my son understand the depth of my love for him, the desire of my heart for his best. But I will keep praying for him while he is ungrateful. I will continue to love him while he is unlovable. I will never give up on him.
And I know that he too will come to understand the depth of a parent’s love. The depth of our Father’s love. There will be new life in an old heart. It is no small miracle.
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