Yesterday, was my oldest son Brock's 14th birthday. We are celebrating today, however, to accommodate everyone's schedule. I think Brock is hoping to stretch the celebration out for the entire week - his friends will be spending the night sometime this week, too.
Back before I had kids, I remember glossing over the words in Genesis about one of the curses of women - pain in childbirth. It loomed rather largely in my mind the night, however, I gave birth to Brock. In fact, I distinctly remember muttering, "I hate Eve!"
Once the pain of the actual labor was over, though, and I was holding my little red bundle with the alarmingly pointed head (were they supposed to have heads shaped like that??) while the memory of the pain didn't disappear, it became a misty memory. (of course, I don't actually remember the first time I saw Brock because I was so drugged up from being knocked out after my epidural came out and the doctor ended up doing a c-section after 15 hours of labor and 3 hours of pushing - but really, it's just a misty memory now!)
What I didn't realize at the time, is that the "pain of childbirth" doesn't end when you leave labor and delivery. What I slowly realized was that I was essentially working myself out of a job.
I went from being the most important person in my tiny newborn's life to slowly being phased out. Let's face it, the older my son gets, the less and less he needs me. While I'll always be his mom (and he better say hi to me if he's ever on television!), if I do my job right he will become an independent, strong young man. I would never want him to be a "mommy's boy," tied to my apron strings.
BUT, (you knew a "but" was coming, didn't you?) that means I have to let him go. I have to smile and wave him on to the next adventure, the next challenge. I have to not allow apprehension to show on my face when he attempts things that make me cringe. I have to refrain from fixing it and making it better. He's past the point where I can kiss his boo-boos and make them all better. I have to watch as he struggles from boy to man - no easy thing in this world we live in - and if I help too much, I risk crippling him.
Like a butterfly struggling out of a cocoon - too much help and that butterfly's wings don't develop. The butterfly is crippled and often never flies. Some days, I want so badly to step in and help, but I know, in the long run, it would only keep my boy from flying.
It's bittersweet and sometimes, painful to be the mom.
The "pain" in childbearing has less to do with the actual labor and delivery, than it does about that inevitable moment when you have to push your child out of the nest.
Brock, at 14, is more mature and level-headed than I was at 20, I think. He's serious and quiet by nature, but with a dry, unexpected sense of humor. He's always observing of the world around him - it's the quiet ones you have to watch out for! ;) He's also empathetic. I remember as a toddler, he would go around and make sure all the other little kids in the nursery had a toy.
He's self-disciplined (more so than I am now, as an adult!) and a very hard worker.
Best of all, to me, is that he loves God. I have prayed for my boys the verse that says to love God with all their hearts, souls, minds and strength. I have prayed since they were tiny that they would have a love of God's Word. Brock does - he reads his Bible every day without prompting. I can't tell you how happy it makes me that he has a relationship with God and not just a religion that is his parents'.
Amazing to me - because Brock is a bit reserved and is not super outgoing - is his heart and passion for the lost. He brings tracts to games to give to the other players. He shares the Gospel with any kid who plays basketball on our back porch. I find it ironic that the boy who is so bashful is so bold when it comes to sharing the Gospel.
I am proud of the man Brock is becoming, but that doesn't mean that there are days when I sigh and get a little teary remembering little chubby arms around my neck, finger painting, squeals of laughter and the wide-eyed wonder of a preschooler seeing his first giraffe up close.
Yes, motherhood is bittersweet but I wouldn't miss out of the joy of having Brock for anything!
~ Blessings, Bronte