How do you let go? How do you know when? 14? 17? 18? 21? What is that first night like in the house without them? The sound of their feet on the tile? The sound of their voices calling from clear across the house “MAAAWM!” just because. The sound of their fingers on the touchscreen keyboard as they text away…something that is obviously very important to them. The sound of their laughter. The sound of them fussing or playing with their siblings “stawp iiit! UGH!!! MAAAWM!!!” sigh. You don’t really know. You just trust that they’re ready. So you help them pack…with a heavy heart…but happy for them at the same time because you know it’s not so much about them being ready….it’s about you being ready. Accepting that the time has come. “It’s o.k. mom. it’s only a few weeks. I’ll be back.” So you pack…their suitcase with all the clothes and toiletries that you know they’ll need to survive…and their purses with enough to survive…and you pack their ears and hearts with all the warnings and cautions and advice and reminders “remember who you are…remember your manners…remember to always be aware of your surroundings…take nothing for granted….remember your upbringing: don’t deviate from it… you lead, you don’t follow. I’m here for you no matter what. just call.” you give them all they need to survive. you’ve given them all they’ve needed to survive. you have to trust that. and you pray. you pray with them before they go to sleep the night before. you pray over them as they sleep during that night. you hold them and pray with them again the next morning before they leave. and you pray after they’re gone.
……but in their absence (whatever this absence may mean) how do you survive? you pray. because you know the strength that is required of you is a new requirement. A different requirement and therefore a different strength is needed. A strength that is far beyond you. a strength that is far above you. because the fact is this may be only a drop in your ocean of acceptance. You pray. and you live and you wait and you… survive.