I’m a controller.
There. I said it.
I like order and calm and I like to know what’s coming and how exactly it’s going to look and feel. Of course, this is all fine and dandy because as an adult you get to orchestrate much of your happenings. You decide what you want to wear in the morning and who you’re going to spend your time with. I get to choose what we’re having for dinner and whether I’m going to grocery shop or exercise on my morning off. Nobody is barking at me to do this or do that. It’s almost like I can control things.
The problem with this illusion of control is that it’s just that, an illusion. I feel like I’m in control though a thousand factors play into my days that are outside of my control. Is that car going to rear end me? Outside of my control. Will cereal be on sale? Outside of my control. Will my knees endure my run? Outside of my control. You see?
It was easy back in the day of parenting babies and even toddlers. They were so controllable. I laid out what they would wear, if not completely helped dress them. I decided what went into their mouths and what didn’t. I decided when nap time was and while they would sometimes fight me on it, I mostly always won. I controlled whether it was an inside or outside day and just exactly what activities we would engage in. I arranged play times with friends and decided who they would share slobbered on toys with.
It’s so much different when they grow though. I’ve written many times before about the process of letting go but the controller in me just doesn’t want to. I want to line everything up and set out a schedule for the day and let my littles (and now biggers) know that this is how it’s going to go and it’s all going to be okay!
But I can’t anymore. Because they’re out of my grasp for so many hours a day. Out of my control for too long for me to assure them that it will be good. They’ll be fine. I’ve got it all taken care of!
It’s lunchtime just now as I write this and my heart is in a knot. Life threw my littlest a curve ball last week and his best friend of many years left his school. These two had something special. A bond I’ve rarely seen amongst boys. We’re talking swinging hugs every morning and lunch hour shenanigans every single day and a pout and tear if they didn’t get to play after school on top of that. They waited for each other every morning for the past 3 years. They watched for each others bright toques bobbing through the sea of blue and white uniformed kids. They grinned big grins upon seeing each other and bolted to meet and share lifes events from the past 15 hours they hadn’t seen each other.
Today I couldn’t control his best friend being there. I couldn’t wiggle my nose and nod my head and make him arrive for his hug. I couldn’t run around the school yard asking kids to play with him at lunchtime. I couldn’t make a child notice his friend was missing and ask him to play.
I couldn’t even tell him it was going to be okay. Because what if it’s not?
I can’t control their little lives like I once did and I know that’s good and healthy for both of us. But my mama’s heart wants to nonetheless. Wants to so badly it hurts.
My heart broke a bit as I sent him off this morning, his head hung low and words like, “I guess I’ll just walk around by myself at lunch,” making their way out of his mouth. I wanted to tell him that other kids will ask him to play or maybe this gives him a chance to meet new kids. I wanted to tell him that he’ll have a great day and everything will be just fantastic. He’ll be so happy!
But I didn’t want to be the dentist who tells him it’s not going to hurt. Cause it is. We both know it.
So I do the only thing I can. I tell him that he’s brave. I tell him that he’s strong and that he is courageous. I tell him how much he is loved. I tell him that it will feel different today, yes. That he will probably feel a bit lonely today and the next day and maybe some time after that. I won’t give him a timeline, a day that it will all be better, because I can’t. Who knows when it will be better? Who knows when the loneliness will subside?
I can’t control these things anymore. I can’t make everything okay.
I know it’s a part of growing up for both of us. Him knowing I can’t fix everything and me realizing the same.
It sucks. We both agreed on that and for now that’s all we’ve got. A pushing forward. A growing. A new challenge to take on. A knowing that God is in this just as much as He’s in the good and the fun. A trusting that He wants our good and He won’t ever give us more than we can handle.
And so we walk forward. Me on my knees for him. Him – well, I don’t really know. I’ll have to wait for the report after school.