Today’s post isn’t written as Alecia, the homeschool Coach, but as Alecia–mom. I hope you don’t mind me sharing my heart with you this week.
My oldest son and I just spent the weekend together, just the two of us. I took him to an event where basketball players aspiring to play in college were able to showcase their skills in front of college coaches. It was a great opportunity and yet a very difficult environment to really show coaches your best. Why? Because everyone else was there to show their best as well. I hated that my son’s basketball career, which has been so full of many amazing moments, had come down to that one day. I hated that he had to enter the court as a gladiator before the glaring eyes of spectators to prove his value as a player. That’s A LOT of pressure.
And yet. I was so proud of the way he handled the pressure. He did not cower before his competitors. He stood strong.
Like a man.
That’s probably because he is a man. (It’s so hard for me to admit it sometimes.)
Because I played basketball for ten years, I began watching his games with the analyzing eye of a coach looking for pointers that I could give him, cringing at every mistake, and cheering for every good thing he did. I was on the edge of my seat. Nervous. Cheeks clenched.
Then I realized, this might be the last time that I’m able to see him play. Memories begin to flash through my mind. Like when he was around 3-4 years old and he used to play basketball in the hallway of our home. Then a few years later when we bought him a Little Tikes goal and he played diligently in our back yard. In fact, he taught himself to add as he calculated his points. A few years later we let him play on his first team. He was in second grade, and they didn’t keep score. But… we all knew the score. I remember him slipping and sliding all over the court in the cheap shoes that we bought him. I remember how difficult it was for him to move with the ball, because his competitors were slapping at him and practically hanging onto to his ankles. It was quite entertaining to watch!
At about age ten, I started working with him. We would play one-on-one. I would teach him defense, offensive moves and so forth. That was my daily exercise. Not long afterward we put him in a program where they practiced a couple of times a week, developing fundamental skills and scrimmaging against each other. Then on to middle school, and high school.
It’s been a journey.
This journey has included some really hard days. Years actually. Depression. Rebellion. Confusion. It was a difficult season of him trying to figure out who he was. In the process, he alienated us. And I remembering doing all I could to get to through to him. Yelling. Threatening. Grounding. Crying. Lecturing.
It didn’t work.
So we fell to our knees in desperation. We had done everything we had known to do. And in that moment as we cried out before God, we heard his gentle whisper telling us to leave Brian in His hands. He would take care of him. It was time for momma to let her son grow up. Let him make mistakes. To stop trying to force him to do the right things, and simply commit him to the one who is ABLE to speak to His heart.
I didn’t want to. But I did.
I stopped telling Brian what to do. I stopped checking his texts and the music he downloaded. The Lord told me to let him fail while the costs were low, so that he learned those lessons. I let my husband talk to him–man to man. And I prayed, and prayed and prayed. Ed and I prayed together. And we loved our son through the rebellion. It was so hard.
As I prayed, God began to show me the path to my son’s heart. Music. I began listening to his music and supporting his efforts to create music. He expressed his inner most thoughts through his music, and I was able to understand his struggles.
And one day, after several years of praying, we had our son back.
I remember Ed and I both looking at each other and wondering when, where and how it happened. We couldn’t figure it out. But we did know who–our Heavenly Father. We knew He had intervened. We knew He had done a special work in the heart of our son. He was once lost, but now he was found. We rejoiced!
And once he was “back”, I regained my position of influence into his life. He actually began to ask for and value my thoughts. He listened to us with humility. He became kind and respectful again. And I learned how to relate to him in a respectful way, rather than in a “controlling” my-way-or-the-highway kind of way.
These lessons have NOT come easy.
Because of what we’ve already gone through, I know I cannot block his path of progress. I’ve been there. As I sought to venture out into adulthood, my parent’s fears kept me from flying as I should have. I had to break from my parents in a very traumatic way. I NEVER want my children to have to that experience. It’s just too painful, and just not natural.
Letting go is a process. Not a one time act.
So once again, we revisit this discussion of letting go. And I’ll be honest, a piece of my heart goes with him. But that’s good, I think.
I greatly admire Brian and I’m so proud of the man he’s become. A visionary. A thinker. Driven. Focused. I love that he knows what he wants and he fights for it. He won’t let anybody stand in the way of what he wants. (We’ve seen the play out in positive and negative ways.) He’s extremely creative, and musically talented. He’s not afraid to ask for what he needs. He’s kind. Gentle. He loves his family. And he has a genuine love for Jesus.
Moments like this give me perspective. What’s this parenting gig all about anyway? It’s about this short window of opportunity that we have to love these people who have been entrusted to us. It’s about walking with them and guiding them through life. Believing in them. Fighting for them.
It’s about preparing them to live the life they were meant to live. A life of purpose. Passion. Love. Service. It begins with knowing who they are. Sons and daughters of the Most High King. Royalty. Treasured by God.
He will always be our son. I will always love him, and I’m excited for the next season of his life.
And yet, in my heart, I long to hold onto my “little boy”.