I should be sleeping.

I wonder how much writing--or art of any kind--has to first push off from the phrase "I should be..."

Anyway. I should be sleeping--tomorrow morning, we take our son to the hospital for kidney surgery. He's only three and I'm afraid.

I'm afraid of the unknown, I'm afraid to leave him at the operating room door where he'll have to go on without me where he'll be alone, where I'll have to wait down the hall for a few hours.

He's going to be fine, I know that as well. This is the fixing of an issue he's had since before he was born, and we know parents going through furnaces worse than this by hundreds of degrees. But I'm not sure comparison is healthy in these situations. For us, this is the hardest its been, and so it's heavy in my heart tonight.

The weight is the simple knowledge that my son is not my own. That leaving him for a few hours to, as he says, "get (his) tummy fixed and take a nap" is not the only time I'll have to watch him go on without me. This is motherhood, the closest I'll ever be to him is past--the cord is cut and now I marvel daily at this creature that is part of me and yet is entirely his own self. In time, I'll see his heart broken, his path blurred--and root alongside him for healing and clarity. Oh, it aches. I try to flex my minds eye to see him as a man, filling a doorway with his silhouette. I can't yet do it, but I long to see that grown version of him, to continue to feel as a do now--honored and fumbling through parenthood.

He belongs to the Creator, and is entrusted to me. What a weight, what a freedom.

This time tomorrow, I trust sleep will come without any "shoulds." I'm thankful and aware again and again of all of the prayers surrounding our family during this season. My sweet, smiling boy is not often in pain, buoyed up by so many bowed heads and quiet pleas. Prayer is real, God is good.

Now, to climb into bed, close my eyes, and face today surrounded and guided by Love.

AuthorBeth Ables