Just before dawn I wake, and my first thought is, She’s not here. Then I hear the familiar creak of the floorboards and a pitter-patter of sleepy feet coming down the hallway. And to be honest, I’m overcome with warmth and happiness. She still seeks me. Every morning my 5-year-old asks, “Mama?”
“Yes,” I reply.
She’s warm and uncoordinated as she climbs over me and entangles her warm body through mine. She snuggles as close as possible and kisses my nose.
I realize I’m not ready.
I’m not ready for friends with cell phones and social media.
I’m not ready for moods that change with the seconds on the clock.
I just figured out how to juggle the complexity of this stage, and it’s shoving me out.
I’m not ready for friendships that change with the tide and confusing emotions that follow.
I’m not ready for the molding of personalities as they are influenced by peers.
I’m not ready to guess the meaning behind the silence.
I’m not ready for silence.
I’m not ready for the worldly awareness.
I’m not ready for prom nights and late-night tea waiting for curfew.
I’m not ready for her to be independent of me.
And I panic because I’m on the threshold.
I’m standing in the doorway, clinging with tenacity as the season pushes me forward because just yesterday my oldest was born and now we’re facing middle school.
We traded sleepless nights for a sliver of independence, and I’m not ready.
Eleven years made up of little in-between bits and a gathering of memories that were lived in a split second.
All the while in these shifting sands there’s an uneasiness that I didn’t quite get it right. How could I have done anything right in such small moments? In the middle of this thought, she sleepily whispers, “I just love to be with you, mama.”
Eight words. A salve to my weary mama heart.
She’s not ready either. We’re in this together.
They aren’t meant to stay little forever. They are meant to grow and expand and cultivate into something beautiful we can’t fully imagine. And the culmination of in-between bits that seem insignificant make up a slow rhythm of building character, so maybe they are most important of all.
Instead of fear, I am embracing grace. I won’t always get it right. Heck, I’ll probably almost never get it right. But Jesus meets me there with grace, and that I’m ready for.