by Paula Harrington
By the time you read this, my oldest child will have been at boot camp for three days.
He has mentioned joining the military since he was a boy and I will admit to you that, as a mother, I secretly hoped he would pick another career path.
Our feelings toward his decision turned from apprehension to a sense of pride. Our son is going to protect our country.
He is going to lose precious sleep to guard our freedoms. What a proud realization for a parent.
Even though I completely supported him, as we neared his departure date, my good feelings started to slip, giving way to fear and a sense of dread.
His recruiter was coming to our home. He was going to drive him to another city and soon, my son would be in the company of people I didn’t know.
The little, red-haired, freckled- faced boy that I watched grow into a young man will be under the care of people who will instill honor, respect, and a commitment that he has never known.
I’m sure there will come a day when I will be thankful for them and their influence on my child. However, today isn’t that day.
There is no harder time in a parent’s life then when we first notice that our children have grown up. Those times of rocking them to sleep, tying their shoelaces, and tucking them in at night are quickly replaced with times of wondering where they are, who they’re with, and what they’re doing.
The ticking of the clock ushers in a different role for us, and with it, comes a moment when we must step back and accept the fact that our lives have changed. It’s not a bad change, mind you, but one where we need to re-adjust, let go, and let God.
Whether your child is leaving for the military, college, or just setting out on their own, peace comes with the understanding that we’re not letting them go completely, we’re giving our fears and the hopes we have for their future to God.
We’re trusting him exclusively, confident that he will care for them better than we ever could.
In these life-altering moments, may we turn to one who knows how it feels to send his child into a cold and bitter world. A father who was fully aware of everything that would befall his son. Yet out of a great love for us, sent him anyway. Nothing could be more comforting than knowing that.
by Paula Harrington