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1950s two boy scouts one pointing wearing hiking gear uniforms

Boy Scouts of America circa 1950’s

I can’t stop crying.

It’s these growing pains of mine. Except this time my growing pains come by way of releasing my boy to do his own growing. And there really is no way around it—he has to grow. He has to become independent. He has to not need me anymore. He has to grow-up.

He has to go to camp.

He leaves in the morning. He’ll sleep in the tent he and his friends will assemble (wait. what?) and he’ll do what Boy Scouts do. Explore nature, stick bugs to cardboard and other adventurers that would turn my momma stomach to mush.

But he has to go—without me. He can’t grow up if I’m standing by reminding him to zip up his jacket, wash his hands from the bug goop, and pee before getting into his sleeping bag.

Dear God—he’s only ten. Must he grow-up already? Must he?

Over the last week I’ve been too preoccupied with other pressing matters to process my son’s first camping excursion without me or my husband. Yet when I’d glance at the calendar and see “Winter Camp” marked across four whole days, my heart leaps and fear creeps in to take its place.

What if something happens to him?

And really all I can think about is when he was just a wee one and I held him near and nursed him day and night. He was always with me. He and I. Me and him. Together. Nothing happened that I didn’t allow.

Except for that one time…

He was two. We walked through a parking lot on a hot sticky day. I was weary from the heat, not to mention pregnant with Blonde Boy. I picked up my son and threw him on my hip. In one arm I carried shopping bags, in the other I kept First Boy close—and safe.

And then somewhere between lifting my foot over a curb and around a car tire, my foot got stuck—and I fell. And he fell—head first into black gritty asphalt. The sound of skull on pavement sent shivers down my spine for weeks. Blood spewed, ambulance arrived, and he was taken to doctors who crazy-glued his head back together again.

And all that happened while he was “safe” in my arms. It took months to recover from the fact he was not safe from harm in my arms.

And I don’t know why I’m thinking of all that right now (except that I’m staying true to my journey and writing raw) But now my mind wanders to the movie we watched when First Boy was even younger…

He was barely one. The big screen at Papa’s house shined bright of an orange clown fish in search of his son with one small fin. His father searched the big blue ocean—the very ocean he forbade his son to stay away from because he didn’t want anything to happen to him. In the midst of his ocean adventure he meets a silly, forgetful, blue-finned friend. During another of their dizzying conversations the dim-witted fish went wise on him saying this of the clown fish’s son:

“If nothing ever happened to him—then nothing would ever happen to him.

And quite honestly, those words struck my new momma’s heart—and stayed with me all these years.

If I don’t let my boy go—nothing will ever happen to him. He must have his own memories. He must have his own marker moments. He must have his own encounters with friends, nature, and God. He must go—without me. Because if he stayed with me chances are his life will be so safe that it {or I} will end up hurting him.

And I don’t want to hurt him. I don’t want to hold him back. I don’t want him to stop growing. I want something to happen to him.

Dear God, I want something to happen to him. May it be from You—whatever happens—may it be from You.

Trusting. Growing. {and yes, I’m still crying},

Photo Credit © ClassicStock/Corbis