Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Another wild goose chase...

The other day, the kids and I came upon a family of geese wandering across one field of grass,

across a wide driveway, (have no fear, the fourth gosling is to the side of the one in front)

and onto the grass on the other side of the driveway. The little ones stayed close to Mom and Dad, not wandering away, not trying to make a new path for themselves. The parents vigilantly watched not only their babies, but also they kept a wary eye on us in our minivan and another car that approached from the other direction.

Not long thereafter, my son tried on these very ugly, although reportedly very comfortable shoes.

My long-legged son said that it felt like he had webbed feet... and as I watch him grow up (he is now taller than I am), as I watch him run from one side of the tennis court to another, as he chases some friends and is chased by others, as I wonder what the future holds for him while wandering all over several southern states with him, I recognize that I too am a wild goose, on a wild goose chase, crossing many roads and driveways with my no-longer-little ones in tow.

I am not entirely sure why we, this fluffy, fleecy family, cross so many roads, protecting one another, looking out for one another, watching each other grow and expand in all the myriad ways and directions that we are growing. I have watched over my younglings closely (some have argued a little too closely!), keeping an eye out for real and perceived enemies on all sides, and done a lot within my power and a whole lot outside of my power - emboldened by faith and prayer - to protect my precious and wild-hearted offspring. I confess that I haven't always been successful at that. There have been accidents, sprains and pulls. There have been visits to the emergency room, hospital stays, and medication regimens. There have been crying jags and silent rages.

What a wild ride it has been. What a fast ride it has been. But thus far, we have made it. Intact.  And more than that, we have thrived. We have accomplished much. Borrowing the words of one of my favorite empowerment songs in history: We have overcome.

My daughter will finish high school this week. She has spent her entire educational career here at home. When we started out umpteen years ago, my goal was to teach her to read and write and then send her off to school. But as the months and years rolled past, I felt less and less confident that anyone else could teach her, guide her, love her, and train her up in the way she needed to go. As I watched her develop physically, emotionally, and spiritually, I realized that I didn't want anyone else to be there for her first step, her first full sentence, her first failed test, her first period, her first triumph as a basketball player or softball player - or her first heartbreak. I didn't want to miss one minute of it.

I wanted to be with her, by her side, holding her hand, and wiping her forehead when she was sick. I wanted to cry with her and laugh with her. I wanted her to be able to sleep late if she needed to. I wanted her to be able to learn to be stronger and more confident, recover from illness, rejoice in her successes, and belabor her defeats right here at home. So we did exactly that. We pressed on. We pushed ahead. We lagged behind. We let things slide. We watched her blossom. We held our breath. We cried out for mercy. We begged for healing. We gave thanks for each hour, each day, each week, each month of progress.

And all along the way, every day, I kept going back to the same statement,
the same plea, the same prayer:
All shall be well. All shall be well. All manner of thing shall be well.

And now, here she is. At the cusp of a new phase of her life. One with teachers other than her mother, students other than her brother, rides on the public bus, lunch in the college cafeteria, and surprises of many types on all sides. Including, apparently, the occasional alligator.

I look forward to watching her look ahead, ride off, making her own life, her own family, 
and embarking on her own wild goose chases.

This journey of motherhood has been and continues to be one long wild goose chase. And this Mother Goose is sitting pretty at the moment, plumping my feathers, and looking forward to the next time we need to cross the road to the other side. Together. Looking out for one another. Hoping against hope, praying, pleading for mercy and safety until we reach other other side. Wherever or whenever that is.

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