I'm not a big fan of clichés or trite sayings, but every now and then one simply fits a particular occasion.
This is one of those times.
My oldest bird has "flown the coop." In other words, Cameron, my eldest child, is now a college freshman. Oh, I'm sure he'll be home often, dirty laundry in tow as most are, but he officially has his own residence now. And while it may be still in the same town, it's under a different roof.
However, as I'm quickly learning, parents' worries don't end when their kids move out.
Will he wake up to his alarm? Will he make it to class on time? Will he get his homework done? Will he make new friends? Will he enjoy dorm life? Will he reach those goals he's set for himself?
My heart tells me that momma needs to be there every day to make sure he stays on task to do all of those things. But my head tells me it's time to stop holding his hand.
As other baby birds eventually learn, he needs to spread his wings and learn to fly on his own.
But all weekend long, my heart has been fighting with my head.
At home, when his alarm has been ringing for 30 minutes, I give in and wake him up. When he leaves a glass on the table, I'll rinse it and stick it in the dishwasher. For the past 13 school years, I've helped to remind him of homework assignments. We've studied for tests together. I've even run home at lunch to grab those football cleats he forgot to take with him to school that morning.
All of that's over now. The responsibilities are his and his alone. And I have to realize that he's either going to "sink or swim." As much as I want to help keep him afloat, I know that his future belongs to him now.
So here I am, struggling with all of these conflicting feelings for weeks now. And then, Sunday morning at church, one of the messages was about giving those feelings over to God and letting him take the worries away. For a moment there, it was as if I was the only person in the room, and the minister was speaking straight to me. I felt so overwhelmed ... it was like God was letting me know that I hadn't trusted him enough.
And that reminded me of a card a friend sent me years ago. I loved its words so much that it has been taped to my office wall ever since. "Let go ... and let God."
Well, I'm trying.
I might stumble a few times. But I've got to push that baby bird out of the nest. At least there are still two more baby birds to keep me company for the next several years.
Hopefully, with time, I'll be saying, "The eagle has landed."