Today Silas is 11, a "tween" as he called himself yesterday.
I have all kinds of angst thinking about a boy, my boy, moving into adolescent and teenage years, so much grief that I cannot protect him from SO. MANY. THINGS., and pangs that I have to let him go out there and grow up.
Recently I was talking to someone about praying for healing. He said stuff like this:
you never know when God will break through and heal, so it's always worth asking. No doubt God can heal, though a lot of times God doesn't. We, especially in the West, tend to think the best thing for everyone all the time is to be healed, to have the problem or pain or grief removed.
(of course we do)
But a lot of times that actually isn't what's best. I never knew God so closely as after I lost my mom. I would be heaving sobs and then in the middle of it, God's peace would come, and I'd be able, at least, to breathe. God had never been so palpable.
I know this in my head. I know we grow in the pain and come out changed. Stronger. With sturdier character. A zillion illustrations in nature remind us of just that: the necessity of forest fires to keep the forest healthy, how gold has to be refined in extreme heat to be valuable, the deadness of winter, the new moon, bulbs that can sit in paper bags for months and then grow -- the list could be ages long.
But my heart protests all of it. I don't want any pain. I don't want any loss. I don't want my kids to get hurt, to have to struggle through poor teachers, mean kids, bad choices, regret, hurting themselves, hurting other people, physical pain, even a cough!
Yesterday a friend told me that in a conversation with an older parent, she realized all of her parenting questions were about how to help her kid avoid bad situations in the future. The older parent said, that's the wrong question; there are going to be bad choices and painful situations, the question is how are you going to be the parent who is safe enough to talk to during those times.
And that's it.
That is the question.
So Silas boy, as you move into 11, the end of elementary school, know that we love you just as much in trampoline parties as in quiet pain, in strong choices as in choices that unravel order.
In one hour and 7 minutes, 11 years ago, I watched you born into a sunny room, ocean horizon out the window, a ring of beautiful people waiting to receive you. Out you came -- Sunshine in my arms. You changed me from that moment and teach me constantly. I love you. Couldn't me more glad to be your mom.