I’m writing this letter to you on another regular day of your seventh year of life, during a week in mid-May when everywhere I look I see graduation announcements and teary-eyed mamas, marking all the lasts that come with the end of an era of parenting.
On this day, someone mentioned college. And you, my tender seven year old only-boy, you burst into a river of tears at the thought. You cried, sweet little man, at the idea of leaving me.
Just this weekend you went away on a men’s retreat with your daddy. You felt so big, rubbing elbows with the men that tower over you, shooting guns and enjoying the mud and the other joys of being male. You stayed up way too late and you ate as many gummy bears as you wanted and somehow you managed to win a puppy.
And, despite the fact that I saw in you, growing boy of mine, that glimmer of the exhilaration that comes with acting manly when you are a man, when the moment came that you walked through the door way too late last night, you walked sleepily right into my arms. It was as if, with your arms wrapped tight around my soft mama waist, you knew you were home.
So, today I write this to you so that you can read it someday. Someday when you have done all of your lasts in this era, when you are done with school and you have worn your robe and funny tasseled hat, when you simply cannot wait to break free from my nurturing grasp and head out into a world that is waiting to embrace you and waiting to devour you and waiting to see what you’re made of. I write this so you will remember how you were once devastated at the thought of leaving me. I write it so you will remember, in some small way, that no matter how big and manly you get, no matter how much you love spreading your wings and flying far and near, that I will always be your soft place to come home to.
And, I pray, Sawyer, that you will learn through these next many years, that true manhood isn’t measured in how straight you can shoot a gun or in how much mud you can collect on your boots. The measure of a man is how well He knows and loves His Savior. If you love Him well, sweet boy, then it won’t matter where I am or where you are or what good or bad is happening in your life. You will have peace. And you will understand the definition of living out your calling as a man.
Your tears tonight, as sad as they were, did this mama’s heart good. Because it is wonderful, my dear boy, to be loved by you. I will be praying for you, today, tomorrow, and in another ten years when you are so ready to face the world without me. Be a man who walks with God, Sawyer, and you will never tread into any darkness alone. And, on that first holiday, when you come home from college way too late one night, if you should happen to walk sleepily straight into my arms, I won’t mind at all.