“Tell a man he is brave, and you help him become so.”
They stood on the porch, handsome in their uniforms and hugged and made silly faces and posed for first day of school pictures. I laughed and clicked away, trying to hide the hurt in my heart. Saying good-bye is never easy for me, but when it comes to watching my boys grow up more and more and head off to school, the tug at my heart is heavy.
I watched my Ash, so tall and handsome, showing his muscles and grinning mischievously. He made faces: brave face, strong face, silly face, sweet face. He has borne some heavy burdens these past few years, and I marveled as I watched him pose… such a strong will, but such a sensitive heart. A mom with cancer, death of friends and friends’ little ones, evil in the world and pain in his body. He cannot grasp it all. How can he, when I cannot either? He buries it deep like his daddy, but he prays. Oh, how he prays! And my heart bursts with pride.
And Bear, my Bear. He’s off to full day school now, and he snuggles in tight with me on the couch and says, teary-eyed, “But if I go to school all day, I won’t be with you. I just want to be with you.” And I hold him and coach him and encourage him that we do the hard things in life to grow, and that I will be with him in his heart. Better than that, God will be with him every single moment. And he smiles, but doesn’t pose. I can see the hint of fear in his eyes, and I know he’s doing what he must even when he’s afraid. And my heart bursts with pride.
I have had no qualms about saying how much I love the school my children attend, and while I am a huge proponent of the classical model and I am blown away with the knowledge my children are attaining, it’s more than that. I am sending my children off to a place where I know they will be well-loved and well-cared for and taught about strength and truth and morality and beauty and Christ.
We had a wonderful summer, full of each other, and I don’t want it to end. But as hard as it is on my emotions to watch them walk out that door and drive off with their daddy, waving, yelling and signing “I love you”, my heart is at peace.
Each walks bravely in different ways.
And my heart bursts with pride.
They are God’s and He is caring for them so much better than I.