My 16 year old fell asleep last night in my bed.
I lost count of how many times I awoke, not because his giant frame took up most of the space, but to soak up the moment, to pray for him, and to stare at his changing face while he dreamt.
I'm grateful my son still enjoys cuddling with mom and dad. Every hug he ever gives is savored but I'm most thankful for the conversations we have. Oh, the giggles we share late at night.
Sometimes those talks break my heart though, when I realize all he is hit with daily.
Which led me to my prayers. Last night, I had the privelege to literally put hands on and pray over him as he slept. I don't know that I ever prayed as much as a momma as I have these teenage years. You think as a new mom, or mother of a toddler you worry, but it just increases as they age. We just want the very best for our babies, no matter how old they are.
As a child loss mom, I know I pray for safety and protection, maybe more than the average parent. Because I know the unimaginable. Maybe I over-pray...if such a thing exists. In reflection, it's probably a sign of my worry and not giving it to God as I should. I say I trust in the plans He has for his future...but then I want to put conditions on what it holds.
As I found myself staring at his face in the moonlight, a mix of sweet innocence and manhood, I wished that I could reach out and push pause. While he's barreling down the highway of life, eager to reach the next milestone, I'm pressing the invisible breaks of his childhood.
Days when I catch him watching cartoons or wrestling on the floor with dad, I'm thankful for the innocence of the moment. But then I sigh knowing his childhood is slipping away. And I'm not naive, as I know he's exposed to way more to any 16 year old should be, but that's the world in which we live. As such, I want to bubble wrap and trap him in the safety of our house. Yet I also know living life is what he needs to grow, no matter how difficult it may be for him. Or me.
There are so many more temptations and stressors he faces as a teen compared to my generation. I can't help but worry about the decisions he'll make. Part of me hopes what we've instilled in him sticks, but the other knows mistakes and bad choices are a part of growing up.
And I've got to show the same love in the messes that I do in the blessings. While we have high expectations for him, he also needs to know we'll always be his safe place to fall.
Because isn't that the same God offers us?
My teens and twenties were littered with mistakes and bad choices, but those lessons are what shaped and made the woman I am today. Sometimes those decisions are what led me closest to God.
Being a parent is the most precious, rewarding and difficult job to ever have. You're responsible for the outcome of a future adult but there's also a season where you have to let go and let God. I know that's coming for us soon. And maybe that's what He wanted me to hear today.
Maybe someone out there reading needs to hear it too.
No matter which side of messy you're on, God is always there ready to go elbow deep to meet you in grace and love.