There’s something heart-wrenching about watching my oldest son take his first steps. Amos is thirteen months old and just beginning to discover how we big people do this walking thing. Boy is he loving it! And oh how I’m trying not to cry. He’s had many other firsts. The first time he smiled. The first time he rolled over. The first time he had a taste of “real” food. But there’s something different about this first. It’s not just a step toward that toy he really wants. It’s a step away from me. It means he’s no longer a baby, totally dependent on Mama and Papa. Now he’s a toddler learning to be self-reliant. He’s growing toward manhood – all too quickly for this mama’s heart. It gets me every time he takes a step.
Wasn’t it just a year ago that he could barely roll over? And here he is practically running down the hall after his Papa. Tomorrow he’ll be walking out the front door toward his own life, without me there to protect him.
The panic rises in my heart with every step I watch him take. It’s going by so quickly! I want to just wrap him in my arms and keep him there forever. I know it’s supposed to happen, I know it’s what’s best for him, but still my heart yearns for my little boy to remain little.
Every step he takes seems to make the clock tick louder. Tick. He’s a year old. Tock. I only have about seventeen years left. Tick. My baby’s a toddler already! Tock. Time, please slow down!
The question that haunts me near constantly these days is: Did I waste too many of his baby days on things that weren’t important? Did I take the time I should have to soak up every smile, every curious look, every sweet snuggle? How can I keep from getting sidetracked by menial tasks in the days to come so that I don’t feel like I’ve missed any of his childhood when he steps out our front door as a man on his own?
Or will I always feel like it has gone too quickly? That’s what I’ve begun to realize and, as best I can, tried to accept. It will always feel like I just turn around for one second and, when I look back, he’s grown. It’s just how raising children goes. “The days are long but the years are short.” So very true.
There is so much to teach him before he leaves home; so much to tell him about the world and about our Savior. So. Little. Time. But, there is time. And I treasure it. Yes, every step he takes reminds me how few days are left to hold him close. But each step also reminds me of the great task the Lord has entrusted to my husband and me. He gave us this time, short though it may be, to instill in our boy a love for His Word, a burning zeal for His truth, and a fire for seeking the lost. We hold in our arms an arrow for the Father, a fiery dart against Satan’s works. These days are given that we might mold a weapon for the King.
And so, with every step he takes, though my heart rages against it, I cheer him on. I encourage him to go beyond his comfort zone, to step out, to reach, and to grow. Because I’m not just raising a little boy. I’m raising a soldier for Christ. And he’s learning to be that soldier, with every little step he takes.