"Don't get too far ahead of me!" I shout as I walk behind them. All I can see is their backs but I know they are smiling as one foot makes contact with the pavement, propelling them forward faster than I can catch them and faster than my mother's heart can bear. And I feel the separation almost physically.
I want to reach out and grab her by the arm pulling her back to me, to the protection of my embrace, away from the road, away from any danger. But she is already too far ahead. He can't even hear me any more when I shout his name.
And I love watching them. Their growing muscles extending, finding the balance to master the small scooter, the thrill of speed all over their screams and laughter.
They are headed for the street and my heart skips a beat. But I have given them instructions as to how fast they need to go and exactly where they need to stop and I have to trust that they will. I have to trust that the work I've put before this moment, the practice rounds, the conversations about danger will do their job.
I have to trust them.
They are old enough to do this. I know that in my head but my heart cries out "not yet! it's too soon!" Time flies and does not stop for me. I'm not ready. But they are.
And this will be the dance of our lives. The constant struggle towards independence as I let them go a little at the time, asking the Lord for wisdom to know how far, how fast, and when. Feeling the pain of separation breaking my heart but keeping a smile of my face as I cheer them on. Because this is what they were meant to do: to grow and leave, to spread their wings and fly.
And I am left to trust.
To trust that the years we had with them were rich enough in wisdom and knowledge to make their own decisions when I'm no longer there to shout their names or remind them of my instructions. I have to let go and have faith that the God who brought them to my life in the first place will continue to walk with them as they are forging theirs.
And to pray.