The ticket line reached out into the parking lot when we pulled up to the stadium. We had arrived a few minutes late to the middle school football game because well, life with kids. I wasn’t invited to this particular event with my 13-year-old, but I didn’t really mind. I had 4 subjects of homework to tackle with my 5th grader waiting for me at home. Some days I wish that whole cloning humans thing would have worked out. Still, I’m a mom and the thought of leaving my kid anywhere without me will always be slightly unsettling.
Eying the line I said, “Do you want me to come with you to buy your ticket?”
I didn’t notice if she actually rolled her eyes because my focus was on the mob of people planning to kidnap her as soon as I drove off. “No, mom. I’m fine.”
“Are you sure? That line is awful long and you’ve never done this before.”
“Mom, I was here last week with dad. I know what I’m doing.”
“Well, where are all of your friends? Do you know where to go? Which side are you supposed to go to?”
“Mom! There’s the band. My friends are in the band. I know where to go. I’ll be fine.”
I sized up the dude at the end of the line and made sure I could recognize him in a line up if I needed to.
I sighed. “Ok. If you are comfortable and know what you are doing then go on. But leave your phone volume turned all the way up so you can hear it if I call you. And if you don’t respond you will lose your phone for a week!”
She bantered a bit with me about what if she couldn’t hear the phone over the band and it was then that I realized that my little girl will always be mine. Even if she’s spreading her wings a little more strongly and more quickly than I wish, she’s my gift. And God would never want me to hide what He has given me.
I watched her get out of the car and approach the ticket booth with a confidence I never had at 13. She took her ticket and slipped through the gate to enjoy an afternoon of making memories with her friends. I have my own teenage memories at that very same stadium. I cherish those. I’d be a fool to deprive her of those same pastimes.
Still, my heart was a little heavy as I grieved another piece of her childhood fading away and allowing for her maturity to take over. I fought the urge to call my friends who were staying at the game and ask them to keep an eye on her. I fought back the senseless worry of something dreadful happening to her while she was there. I pushed away thoughts of random accidents happening to me on my way home causing her to grow up motherless. I didn’t say it was rational. I said it was senseless and random. Moms get it.
As I pulled out of the parking lot I heard the always rational, always there Creator of the universe. Creator of my daughter. And He gently whispered and reminded me that she didn’t belong to me first anyway. She’s on loan. And if I hold on too tightly to her she’ll never fly. She’ll never finish the work that He specifically created her to complete. And that no matter what happens to her whether it’s at an afternoon ball game with her friends, or in the safety of her own home, He’s got her right in the palm of His hand.
I thanked Him for that truth, turned up the music and carelessly drove the rest of the way home to finish math homework.