She lifts her chin, looks me in the eye and says, “Mom, I’ve got this.” My bottom lip quivers and my chin is a wriggling mess. “It hurts and is difficult but I’m a big girl now.” Oh dear God, that she is and that’s what’s given my chin a life of its own. She’s a full-grown adult. When she was a little girl with soft curly pigtails, I could take charge of the hurt. I could run a warm bath, wash away the dirt, disinfect the wound. I could wrap her in her fuzzy pajamas and read a story about safe places. Now, all I get to do is watch her over the rim of my cup and babble until I run out of steam. I listen and watch her set her chin and say, “I’ve got this, Mom. You raised me strong.”
I watch my son as he figures out new systems. He works and plans and does a far better job than I have ever done. He is confident and strong – much stronger than me. “I’ve got this, Mom,” he says. And that he does. I step away, fingers ready to take a hold again but there’s nothing to take. He’s got it.
A lump big enough to choke me sits in my throat. I breathe and allow the air back in my lungs. They’ve got this. This growing up, adult thing. I raised them strong and now I reap the outcome of my labor. They’ve got this.
These two adults of mine, once children, can look life directly in the eye and they are skilled to live it. Better than I ever was. The years have passed and in the blur I see them. I see, not me raising them but the grace of God turning them into these strong adults. Not because of me but despite me. I gave them all I had and when that was not nearly enough, that grace, that amazing, beautiful grace took them and transformed them and made them strong.
You raised me strong, is not entirely true. I leaned heavily on grace and it is this grace that kept them and it is this grace that still does.
As an era of my life closes and I pack for a new journey, my heart rests.
“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them–yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.” – 1 Corinthians 15:10