I remember in high school, realizing that my life was gaining more momentum. Days were going by faster. The school year was over quicker every year. The summers passed in the blink of an eye. Graduation came and went. I settled into the routine of being an adult and all that came with it. Life was normal and uneventful …yet still moving fast.
Then October of 2002 came. I became a mother. My oldest daughter was born. Life did not slow down but seemed to accelerate. Fast forward to 2015 and my oldest …
She stopped me in my tracks.
She was twelve and getting close to being a teenager. I discovered my fear of her growing up. I am not sure exactly when this happened. I remember several times, her catching me staring at her. I would be walking through the house to go do something and I would see her out of the corner of my eye. I’d look at her and stand still, unable to stop staring at her. Her expressions. The way she looks when she is totally lost in a book and can’t wait to turn the page. How she dances to music like she doesn’t care if anyone is watching. If there is no music, she will sing and not care who hears her.
I started to grasp the concept of her growing up to be a young lady.
At first I was so fearful. I thought back to my teenage years and all the mistakes I had made. I desperately wanted to protect her from making the same mistakes. Memories of my failures and wrong turns during my teen years started to rear their ugly head. I even had some nightmares about her making awful decisions and getting hurt. I could hardly even look at her without crying. It was awful.
I realized that she was growing older and more mature. With that comes more responsibility and making her own choices…and mistakes. This terrified me. I wanted her to always be in the safety of our home so we could protect her. My heart ached at the thought of her hurting in any way. I was not trusting God to watch over her at all. I wanted to be the one to protect her.
I became so emotional about it over the course of a few weeks that one day my husband said we needed to talk. He sat down with me and told me that he understood my fears. He worries about the kids too. He also explained that she needed me to not be so afraid. She needed me to celebrate her milestones with her instead of bawling my eyes out every time something new came up. She was beginning to worry about sharing things that were happening in her life because she didn’t want to see me cry. She did not want to hurt me…
NO! I wanted her to share everything with me. I didn’t want to miss anything.
My husband let me cry it out and helped me to admit that I needed to let go of my fears. We would be there for the good times and any bad that may come along. God is the one in control. Not us. He prayed for me and encouraged me to just enjoy all of the milestones.
A few weeks later she learned how to knee board for the first time. I still remember the expression on her face. Once she got up onto her knees and had steadied herself, she looked unsure for just a second. Then she realized she was up and knee boarding. I will cherish the joy that spread over her face forever.
And I was there to see it. What a gift. I screamed and yelled from the boat with excitement. I gave her a thumbs up and yelled “She did it!” I turned and signaled to my husband who was on the jet ski with our son, ready to help her out of the water when she let go of the rope. He smiled and returned the thumbs up.
That moment was so precious. Knee boarding is something my siblings and I did when we were kids. We had a blast. It meant so much to me that she was getting to experience something that I loved so much at her age.
I still worry. I am a mom. It is part of my job. But I am not overcome by fear to the point that it stops me from enjoying her. I am so glad that my husband stepped in and helped me overcome this fear. I am so blessed that he took the time to pray with me about this.
Fast forward a little further to 2016. She is in private violin lessons now. She was chosen to perform in the Honors Orchestra for her district. She played in a beautiful theater in front of a large crowd of people. I enjoyed every minute of her performance. She was at the front of the stage, so for the first time I could actually see her playing.
I did cry. Not because she was growing up, but because in that moment I was so moved by her and the music. I was mesmerized watching her fingers and bow move. It was lovely. She looked like a young woman. And I was present. I was fully there, enjoying her and taking it all in. Not worrying or fretting.
I was there and I loved it.
I am so thankful.
The other night she asked for help with cutting her nails. She has cut them too far back before and likes for me to do it. At thirteen years old there are not many things she needs me to do for her. So I actually look forward to moments like these.
She brought me the clippers and as I was clipping her nails she explained what the funny little indents were on some of them. She said “Mom, it is from playing my violin so much.”
I thought about the concert and watching her play. About taking her to lessons and hearing her practice at home. It warmed my heart to see those indents on her nails. They were a sign of hours of hard work and discipline every week. I am so proud of her. She is becoming such a beautiful young woman, inside and out.
Do you struggle with fear when it comes to your kids?
I get it. I really do. But I know now that they do grow up. And they do make their own choices. Some will be the right ones and some will be the wrong ones. We cannot have control over all of their decisions forever.
What we do have control over is being intentional with our parenting. Loving them deeply. Making memories. Teaching them to love Jesus. Showing them right and wrong. But most importantly, helping them learn to discern the voice of God and learning to listen to Him. So He can point them down His best path for them…and they will go where He wants them to.
If you are struggling with fear over your children, spend time in prayer. Ask God to help you realize you are not in complete control and that is ok, because He knows every hair on their head. He loves them more than we are capable of. Take a deep breath and rest in that.