The bowl hit the counter and shattered at the same moment he tried to catch it, leaving a cut that quickly bled through two bandages. As I swept up the pieces one pricked my finger and there we were, bleeding in the kitchen early on a Wednesday morning. I wrapped his wound in cotton, pulling the plastic tabs from the sticky bandage and oh, how many little wounds I’ve bandaged on this child in nearly sixteen years and oh, how it’s still true that we both bleed when he hurts. His hand is bigger than mine and he is taller than me and he is broad-shouldered and strong and he still fits perfectly in the innermost space of my heart.
I drove him to school today, the second week of his Sophomore year of High School. He says he misses home school, just because he misses being home. And I say, “I miss you being home, too…” and I don’t say the rest, how I miss him being little and I miss him sitting on my lap and reading and how I miss the long days of wonder learning about God’s creation and how I miss the days when his growing up seemed so distant.
I don’t say this because I know he doesn’t need to hear it when he’s already feeling the sting of separation, as sharp as the sting of this bandaged cut. I don’t say it because I know that he does enjoy school, that this was a choice he felt comfortable with and his feelings are a passing moment. I know he is ready for this and that he is going out as a light in a dark place and he has already shown how he can make a difference, how he can hold true, how he can stand out for the right reasons. I don’t say it because I know in my heart that to keep him home another year would be selfish, because he can take classes now that will further his future. I don’t say it because there is a boy he met last year, when he went to school half-days, who sometimes comes to church because my son was there instead of here at my kitchen table. Because he stayed after class to talk to his Biology teacher about God, and who else would have done that? Not me, when I was his age. We live in mission territory here and missionaries, they have to go out.
I’ve been blessed by the years of him at home and this new chapter is also good, exciting, an adventure. The going is part of that. The trusting that God’s plan is good and He knows our needs. That all those years at the kitchen table are bound up in my son’s heart as well as in mine, roots tangled together and anchoring us to the One who bandages all wounds and holds the future in His hands.