I missed his birthday.
I didn't forget it, that would be ridiculous…impossible. But with an ocean dividing us and 5,000 miles in between, I wasn't there for a sweet indulgence, his TWO favorite desserts for breakfast; neither of them a birthday cake but our special tradition; or to look at him and study him, to bear witness to this overnight change. I wasn't there at midnight to kiss him while he slept and welcome his new year; he never would have known, but I would.
The calendar marks time impassive to mothers' wishes on stars–one more day like this.
How can a day, a number for goodness sakes, make such an impression, such a difference?
My youngest. Last born. Baby.
He acted as if this was okay, my absence. He certainly celebrated and was celebrated. There was no void of attention, I did, at least, make sure of that.
Why does this thing–a mother's guilt–pluck heart chords? It is false and faulty, a thing we should cast aside but can't quite manage.
So it picks picks picks and does its best to defeat us.
But I'm raising a defiant fist in the face of False Guilt. My son is cherished and he is good and he is enough.
And that is enough.
Your sons, your daughters are cherished and good and enough, too.
Our children don't expect, they don't even want, perfect parents; they just need to be loved and led. And isn't that what we give?
Isn't that what I've given since before he was born? Isn't that enough?
Love comes daily, in moments sometimes memory-stored but mostly just thankless and forgotten. The leading comes in the doing and being–loving their father, serving others, seeking the Kingdom and knowing the King, making choices sometimes hard but wise, inviting them to real life when it's going through mountains and not over or around them.
They're always watching, even when their eyes are closed.
Mine were part of the Hard Choice we made, the one that called each of us to sacrifice something precious. They are the reason we could make the hard choice, and yes, we've praised them over and over, and oh, how they rose to the occasion.
Let 'em rise, let 'em rise! Can you hear it in the silence? What an injustice…what a disservice…to never give them space to rise!
Rising has a cost but the benefits outweigh.
False guilt, be damned! I see the good and the glory if I just look for it, and isn't mother-guilt nothing more than satan's ploy to strike at Achilles Heel? Kill, steal, destroy–oh how he knows a mother's weak spot. He uses our babies as an offensive shield and when I think of it like that, I think Really…I'm letting my children serve as a weapon against me? Puhlease….
I'm not interested in giving him victory, especially when my children are the casualty.
* * * * *
My baby is 15. Yesterday I drove him to the DMV to take the written test for his learner's permit and a new driver was born.
When he was fast asleep, I tiptoed into his room to congratulate him and welcome the milestone with a belated birthday kiss. What he doesn't know won't hurt him.
And because I'd never pray it, my wish upon a star went something like…
if only one more day like this.