I awoke to Alex at my bedside, rubbing his eyes. As I squinted through slumber, I saw his fidgeting shadow, his hands rubbing his eyes.
My body wants to cry and I don’t know why.
Oh, honey, come on up. I slid back and made room for him beside me. He laid down and I rubbed his arm, marveled at how thin he is, how though he is my oldest and my go-to helper, he is still, well, small.
Did you have a bad dream? I whispered. He shook his head to say no and that was all. He didn’t cry, only fell back to sleep, leaving me with the lingering image of him, inexplicably, sad.
Later this morning, when I went climbed into the car to meet a client, I turned on the radio only to have the image of him, like a wounded bird, again on my heart. I turned off the music and did what most mothers do, I agonized over every possible thing that could be making him sad, and every possible way that I am either the cause or could be the cure.
You see, I don’t mind sadness, so long as I can fix it. I want a reason for it, I want a bully to glare at (okay, okay, or to use as an experience for Alex to learn deal with less than pleasant people with patience and love) or even a belly-up goldfish that leads to conversation and growth. What I don’t want is sadness that stems from somewhere unexplainable, somewhere inside. The sort of soul weary sadness that artists have, that I have from time to time. The sadness that, without the counterbalance of joy, can be crushing.
How can I heal something that I can’t see?
In the car, when my mind was finally exhausted, there was silence. Lord, I prayed, he is my son, but you know his heart and I trust him with you. Please protect him when I cannot. Please comfort him when I am not enough.
When I am not enough. I am not enough.
But it is going to be okay.
It’s always in the letting go. Everything is. The freedom of knowing all that I have is in his hands, the peace in knowing that I don’t have to be enough for my children, the sadness in remembering that though I am his mother, there are places I can’t go, wounds I can’t heal.
My only power is in lifting him up and letting him go – and in doing so, letting myself go from the guilt of wondering what I did or didn’t do wrong, to the father who already knows both of our hearts, and our late night sadness, our early morning grumpiness, our joys, our weaknesses and our strengths and everything in between.
Pray. Let go.