Mothers nurture, it’s an instinctive trait in most women. I know it was for me. When mothers are born, it is an unbelievable event. You look at the little baby in your arms and all of a sudden you are a mother badger. That has always been my animal of choice in describing my need to defend and protect my daughters.
As the children grow, which they do quickly, mothers lag behind. I know personally I have straggled behind, not willing to catch up. I have dragged my feet, declaring that I still need to be there for my daughters in all areas. Not necessary, really.
Yes, I know that I will always be Mom to them. I will be available for them if they truly need me.
This week as I started to send our youngest daughter an anniversary card I looked at the card. On the front is a lasso type rope around the words Happy Anniversary. I picked out the card because their wedding had sort of a cowboy theme underneath the southwestern beauty of their wedding. Mentally I looked at the card and knew it just happened a few months ago.
No, fourteen years ago this evening (October 2nd) we watched as our daughter went from Miss to Mrs.. It happened quickly and yet I could see the moment that she was no longer just ours, but his.
When I realized that it was their 14th anniversary I retrieved Dale’s and mine wedding book. Inside I have what we did for the first 20 anniversaries. I wrote just a few words each years as reminders. Under the year 14 for us, I wrote, Dale in Rhode Island, Cathi in San Diego. Dale and I recounted the events around our 14th anniversary. His Dad had passed away in early January that year. We went to Pennsylvania and hours after the funeral we drove Dale to Pittsburgh so he could fly to Rhode Island for a school for the Navy. I stayed with his Mom for a couple of days and flew home to our girls.
Looking on the list I noticed how many anniversaries he was somewhere and not together. Such is life as a Navy couple.
As Dale and I talked about our fourteenth anniversary, we talked about how old, wise and mature we were. Without noticing the proverbial brick landed on my head. A Mother grew up.
It hit me. The young woman that we watched 14 years ago is not the same woman she is now. She is a wife, a mother herself, half of a couple who have been through and survived much in this short time. My baby is grown up. It is now time for me to grow up.
I no longer need to fret over her. Yes, I can always love her and worry, but I no longer need to be that helicopter, wondering how she is, and what is going on. I can watch from a distance knowing she has this.
I once bemoaned the fact that the girls did not call daily. Dale looked at me as only a father and husband can and simply said, “Didn’t you raise them to be strong, independent women?” I answered that I did. He then said to me, “Then what’s the problem? You did well.”
So, as I start on this path of a grown up Mom, I look to our Lord. I have known their whole lives that I have only been blessed for a season with them, but our Lord is their Lord. He will be the One to guide and direct them. He provided strong men of God for my girls. He has blessed them in many ways. Now, this foot-dragging Mom is now getting out of the way, but not completely.