Closer to the Edge

My youngest starts 6th grade today. I read that sentence and think, “That cannot be right.” (Also, I’m not old enough to have a high schooler and middle schooler, right?) How did this happen? It seems like yesterday I lifted his tiny body out of the crib. Now he is nearly as tall as me. Torturous meals of pretending the spoon was an airplane coming in for a landing, trying in vain to convince my boy to eat, feel like the very recent past. Now he eats like a true teenage boy–never enough food … unless the food is vegetables. He is so smart and articulate. Why did I worry when he qualified for speech therapy at such a young age? Older brother used up all the available words, leaving none for my late talker to use.

My baby used to need me. He needed me to feed him, change him, and comfort him. Now I need him. He helps with household duties and shows me how to work the xbox (over and over) so I can watch my Pilates videos. He assumes more and more responsibility for himself. Though my feelings resemble a rollercoaster–pride in his growing maturity mixed with sadness over the prospect of his complete independence, this is the way of life.

It would do this mom’s heart good to pull her children close–to love them and care for them with all that I have and all that I am. However, the nest in our yard comes to mind. Every spring baby birds hatch in that nest. Mommy and Daddy Bird feed and care for their baby birds. Ready or not, babies are nudged from the nest to learn to fly. It seems almost cruel watching baby birds struggle to fly. But that’s a parent’s job, isn’t it? We nudge our children out of the nest, giving them the opportunity to fly.

As my youngest steps closer to the edge of the nest, testing his wings, I commit to providing the tools he’ll need in just a few years to soar.

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