This week my fifteen-year-old passed his drivers’ permit test. After my initial excitement, I reflected on this next step in our journey and could not help comparing it to my firstborn’s first steps.
My husband and I encouraged our son to walk between our outstretched hands. We caught him when he stumbled. When he fell, we hugged him and pressed him to try again. We cheered and clapped the day he took steps on his own. But, when he started running a month later, I slumped exhausted on the couch, wondering why I had pushed him to this next stage. Had I prepared him enough for every failure and tumble? Had I prepared myself for the extra work it would be for me as I chased him up and down the stairs? Hadn’t it been easier to carry him everywhere, knowing he was safer in my arms than on the path? In those toddler years, my personal energy drained daily, and I longed for days to refill my tank.
Now that he is older, he notices when my emotional gauge is low and often suggests I go fill up with some personal time. My control of his life-wheel is gradually being turned over to a very competent, cautious, and compassionate young man. When the time comes for him to back out of the driveway on his own for the first time, I know I will not be there for every misstep. But, I certainly will cheer inwardly every time he walks in the door into my waiting arms.