It was a particularly beautiful spring evening. I headed off to the park for an evening stroll and to spend time with God. There was so much action…teenagers playing football, bikes zooming by, geese descending on the pond so gracefully. I head up the hill and turn off on a hiking trail. I take in the sounds and sights and smells. The oak trees tower above and the smell of fragrant flowering blossoms and new grass and leaves fill the air. I am surrounded by the beauty of nature and grateful for the moments spent awakened and aware of God’s presence.
In the distance I see a Mom on her bike with two small boys following behind. The younger one is just learning to ride and by the time I reach them, the Mom and son are exasperated that he’s tired, he can’t do it, he won’t do it. I smile to myself. Her eyes meet mine and I greet her. “I’m a single Mom, “ she says, as if needing to explain her frustration, her look of being totally overwhelmed. “I am, too, “ I smile at her. “You are?” she asks incredulously. I stop and talk to the boy s and to her. She wants to know why I don’t seem as tired as her. (In truth, I’m exhausted.) I explain that my boys are grown and that I’m experiencing a very different level of parenting. She says, “What I wouldn't do for one walk in the park by myself…I just want one minute where I’m not supplying everything…the financial, the schoolwork, the encouragement, the physical play.” My heart goes right back to the moment in time she is living through. And then her eyes fill with tears and this stranger becomes a friend, “Will it ever get easy…this being alone and being everything to everyone.” My heart fills with compassion for the place she finds herself. I can only tell her to find the moments to enjoy, that as tired as she becomes not to miss any moment…because they are so fleeting. I hear my voice now quivering and realizing that so deep within me I’m dealing with the change in my home, in my life of blinking and my boys being out on their own.
Even now, life is so different. It’s more guiding, than teaching. More reminding, than telling. Less roots, more wings. And even this stage I love. I love that my life with my sons is still filled with deep questions in the night about how to forgive and what makes a girl more special than the others. What commitment is and why the bond of family is important. The debate of finding faith and realizing it makes a difference. The all-important questions of when the Phillies are going to turn it on this year.
There is a peace now. Because the foundation is set, and even though it still needs readjusting, rexamining from time to time, I’m so sure of the foundation, of my Rock, of who has been my partner in these years of creating, shaping, becoming. And I love the sounds of the boys becoming solid friends and the joyful, deep belly laughter we still share. I love the way they sitll look me and the way I still feel when they walk in the room. Yet, I know I will just blink and they’ll be gone from me…we’re holding on ever so gently now…as it should be.
And the thought comes to me quickly, but I've been thinking about it for so long. That my life a mother and especially a single mother has been so much about doing my best, taking leaps of faith and then letting go. It has been like a coming of age…letting go instead of holding on… letting of go of my husband (and best friend) through divorce, letting go of pain and choosing forgiveness, letting go of despair and choosing hope, letting go of perfection and choosing humanness, letting go of perception and choosing truth, letting go of dreams to forge new ones, letting go of loved ones with the reassurance we will be joined again, letting go of judgments and allowing freedom.
As I walk out of the woods in the park I hear this incessant chirping. I can’t believe what I’m seeing and I know, once more, it is God’s awakening me to all that is real and beautiful and points me to His glory. High above, a mother robin, is edging her baby to the rim of the nest…and she nudges again and the baby robin takes flight. And I am left in awe…of the moment, of the experience, of my life.