This week I've had the opportunity to grow as a parent. Something that doesn't come easily or without heart pains. The simple little thing of dropping off my oldest for a homeschool class became a turning point, a milestone, a memory I'll hold to my bittersweet heart. I hated every minute of it.
Though he'll probably never remember the day, the moment, the impact.
It was the first time I have let him go. The first time I stood on the sidelines and watched as he tried to assimilate into discussions with other (much older) kids. I had to physically pull back every cell in my body that screamed out to run to him, to protect him. We didn't have the comfortable safety of our church, or the relatively similar expectations of kids our own age. Alex is now old enough to attend homeschool classes with kids old enough to have cracking voices and facial hair.
The fact that he's about four feet shorter than the tallest and at least a foot shorter than the girls has me on edge when his bright smile falls upon kids he wants to know. Kids can be cruel. I know from experience. I want to sheild him from any possible pain.
But the time for hand holding and boo boo kissing is ending with my little man. It's an opportunity to discover new things about this fascinating person I helped create and it is also sad and scary. My heart feels like it's being torn in two. He is eager to grow up, explore the world, meet new people and depend on himself for support and encouragement. He's by no means grown up and I'm not sure I'll ever see him that way, even when he's holding his own son in his arms but it's time I started letting go, trusting them to the world.
I just wish it hadn't happened so soon.