Monday, July 15, 2013

Swimming Deep and Room to Grow

We’re in Michigan at our favorite lake. Lonny and I started coming here twenty years ago when we were newly married. At that time, boys and family were not yet a dream.

Now we bring our brood back every summer. The lake holds memories that we hold dear.

When we’re here, there are a few things I can count on. The lake, when I first see its variegated blues, will move my heart so hard I’ll want to cry. When Lonny drives the boat, his hair will go wild like Jack Nicholson’s in Terms of Endearment. When we’re anchored, the boys will hit the picnic basket like madmen.  And when we’re in the water, my son,  Samuel, will push against my sensible-safe limits with his made-for-adventure heart.

We’re in the lake, shoulder-deep. The water is clean and clear and we can see the soft ripples of sand under our feet. We’re tossing a ball in the shallows. The big boys throw and it flies far. The little guys are under the surface again and again, bouncing like bobbers. And Samuel, sweet Sam, is lured by the deep.

“Let’s go out, Mom. Let’s go out where it’s dark!” he says as he erupts in front of me, water shedding from the force. He’s two inches from me with dark goggles and a grin.

“Sure,” I say. “Grab one of the big boys, too.”

Logan and Grant both join us and we swim to the place where turquoise gives way to indigo blue. When we tread above the drop-off, the place where the water goes very deep, we can see the slope of the sand. We can see it stretch nearly straight down. It’s the place Sam wants to go.

“Watch,” he says. “Better yet, borrow Logan’s goggles and you come, too.” Then he’s under the surface, belly close to the sand as he swims down.  I can see the white flesh of his soles. I stay above water to watch.

Sam’s a strong swimmer.  He’s had lessons every summer. He swims in the pool every day. He wants to join a swim team in the fall.

But still my heart beats fast.

It’s just a few moments before he breaks the surface. He gulps air and then he’s down again. I wish we were in the shallows.   I swim well, too, but still there are a thousand worries. What if Samuel gets tired? What if a boat or a ski jet comes too close?

I don’t know. So I tread water and watch him do what he loves most. My mama-heart wants to pull him back, pull him in, and take him to where the water feels safe. But I know I have to give him room to grow.  And letting him swim in the deep is just the beginning.

 It’s the theme of my life lately. Giving boys room to grow. Letting Logan grow, make decisions, and work through what he wants to do with his life. Letting Grant have freedoms in these teenage years.  Sam and his adventures. Sometimes it all feels like deep water to me. It’s enough t make a mama half crazed. But I’ve trained my boys. I’ve taught them. They belong to the Lord. I know my sons are in the palm of His hand.

So now it’s time to open my fist and let go.

Samuel’s up again. He swims close. His goggles are on his forehead now and I can see the joy in his eyes.

It makes me happy, too, seeing this unbridled bliss. It moves something in me, deep inside.

This letting go and giving room thing?

I have a long way to go.

But maybe, just maybe,  it will be okay.

Lord, thank you for holding my boys in the palm of your hand. Help me to open my hands to let go. Amen.

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