My firstborn son is a senior in high school this year. I don’t even know how I feel about that. Wasn’t he just a baby looking up at me with big brown eyes as if to say “I need you” with every blink? I admit that I am not handling this season well.
The harsh reality of the situation is my son is no longer a child. He is 18 years old and in most places, that means he is a legal adult. What??!! We moms know this day is inevitable, yet it still caught me by surprise with its seemingly quick arrival.
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As it turns out, I’m quite fond of my son, and therefore, not eager for him to leave the nest. Sure, when things started off, we had some rocky times with temper tantrums and time-outs. Yeah, maybe we hit a few rough patches in the tween years when he tried to boss his siblings around or lie to me about doing his homework.
But recent years have shown him to be strong, kind, and driven.
As moms, we know these qualities are there upon birth, but God graciously gives us time to foster them so we see them start to manifest when our kids are grown. The wait is long but worth it.
I know I could send him off with a pat on the back and a silent stare, but I’m pretty sure he’d see right through my stoic behavior. He always could read me like a book anyways. No, I choose to be honest and face the uncertain future with tangible hesitancy because I know what’s out there. Some of it is amazing and breathtaking and fascinating. But much of it is hard and painful and exhausting.
As I recall our years together, from infancy to young adulthood, I want my son to remember words that will keep him going in the future. A familiar song comes to mind. A song I would sing to him when he lay upon my chest as a newborn in the early morning hours. My mom used to sing it to me, and her mom sang it to her too. I continue to sing it to my other children as well because the simple lyrics just cut right to the heart of the matter.
It represents a legacy of love that I never want him to forget.
“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine/ You make me happy when skies are grey/ You’ll never know dear how much I love you/ Please don’t take my sunshine away.” (Composed by Jimmie Davis)
This song marked my entrance into motherhood. When my son made me a mom at the age of 23, I felt like I had found my purpose in life (so much so that I went on to have three more children). And as I sit here now thinking about how far he and I have come, I realize we’ve actually come full circle. I am now entering a new season of motherhood with an adult child and again I’m reminded of how deeply committed I am to this call to love him well.
This song may have started off as a lullaby, but it has evolved into an anthem that I live by.
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So, this is what I want my son to know deep down as a guiding force when he goes out into this world. I want him to know that I see his light. His brilliance is on display because the Creator made him to shine. He lights up the earth with a fierce fire that can’t be put out by anyone and warms the coldest heart with his radiant smile.
Not only does the whole world get to be a part of this experience when they meet him, but I, his mother, get to call him mine.
I want the words to this song to become such a part of him that when his blue skies turn gray, he remembers the love that made him who he is today. That he can make it through anything because life may knock the wind out of him, but it can’t knock him out if he stays loyal to what is true.
Oh, he’ll never ever know just how much I love him. But I won’t stop telling him until the day I die. I’ll keep making sacrifices, promises and waves if that’s what I need to do to show my love. No matter how old he gets, he will never stop being my sunshine.
A mother’s love is a fierce thing, isn’t it? Keep on singing, mama, keep on singing.