Out of Control

I just watched my youngest son almost get into an accident.  It is an overcast, rainy afternoon and Carl was driving behind me.  I glanced in the rearview mirror to check on him and, to my horror, he was no longer on the road.  Carl hydroplaned while pulling out onto the street and lost control of the car.  When I saw him, he was on the sidewalk on the far side of the road about to hit a pole.  He swerved out of the way which threw him back into the street.  For the longest half minute of my life, I watched Carl try to right the car as he jerkily swerved back and forth from one lane to the other.  There was traffic both ways and I thought, “My baby is going to die.”  I heard myself screaming, “Caaaaarl!”

My hands are still shaking as I type this.  I apologize for the drama of this post, but I wanted to write while the feelings are still fresh.  Thankfully, all traffic was able to move off the road to avoid hitting Carl.  Thankfully, he was able to finally gain control and pull over into a parking lot.  I have never felt more helpless than I did as I watched my “baby” fight for his life.

So now I’m overwhelmed with fear.  I never ever, never ever (NEVER) want Carl to drive again.  How am I supposed to keep from replaying that scene in my mind the next time he gets behind the wheel?

Somehow my guys aren’t nearly as shaken up.  I drove straight to Neal’s office and sobbed on his shoulder.  I said, “Carl could’ve been killed!”  Neal said, “But he wasn’t.”  I told Carl I had just finished praying for God to keep him safe when I saw him lose control of the car.  He said, “And He did.”  While I was shaking from head to toe and imagining what could have happened, Carl said, “I’m glad Dad’s car is okay!”

The truth of the matter is that it was probably a good thing ultimately.  Carl just gained some valuable experience with driving, rain, hydroplaning, and overcorrecting.  He’ll be better prepared if he’s ever in that kind of situation again.  My mind knows that but my heart is protesting.

Honestly, this has been the hardest part of parenting for me.  Losing control.  My sons are grown and nearly grown.  I’m watching them make decisions, make mistakes, sin, or flounder around as they try to figure out their own lives.  What I want to do is have complete control again. They could get hurt!  But I know they’re growing and gaining valuable experience.  I know that they are capable and good.  I also know that while they will never stop being my sons, they really belong to their heavenly Father.  And He is always in perfect control.

“I know that You can do everything,

and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You” (Job 42:2).

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Photo cred: Carl Pollard (I look like my grandpa in this pic)

Boys to Men

I know I am not the first mom to face an empty nest, so why does it feel like I am?  I knew my sons would grow up, but it’s as if I’ve discovered a surprising and disconcerting fact– Time does not listen to me!  It won’t slow down.  I can’t put it on “pause” until I’m ready for it to move on.  I can’t go back in time to redo some things I’m just now figuring out.

Okay, so I know I haven’t discovered anything new.  I know I was even warned of this by other moms who had already experienced it.  They made comments to me when my boys were babies and toddlers.  “Enjoy it while you can!”  “This will all go by so fast!”  But I don’t recall them telling me that mixed in with the pride and joy would be this unnerving sense of fear and doubt.  I know I made mistakes as a mom.  I can look back and see inadequacies and laziness.  And I don’t recall them telling me that my heart would begin constantly replaying mental videos of rocking my small boys, reading to them, and listening to their childish prayers.  Why didn’t one of those moms grab me by the shoulders, look me in the eyes and say, “Make the MOST of every single day.  I’m serious!”

This past Sunday I watched our firstborn son, Gary, participate in the graduation ceremony of the Bear Valley Bible Institute.  I think I kept shaking my head as he walked down the aisle.  Didn’t I just have him?  Then Sunday night I watched our youngest son, Carl, preach a sermon.  He didn’t need the little step stool to see over the pulpit.  He looked and sounded like a grown man.  When did that happen?  How is it possible that my baby will be a senior this fall?  And this very afternoon we will take our middle son, Dale, to the airport.  He is going to Alaska to begin a summer internship with a church in Anchorage.  Did you know it’s over 3,000 miles from here?  I don’t think a state that’s one of ours should be allowed to be that far away.  With all of these events, I just want to grab each of them, pull them close, and hug them fiercely.  I have one continual prayer, “God, please! Be with them.  Help them always put you first!

For years I’ve been meaning to write each of my boys a letter to read in the event of my death.  I’ve been putting it off because I knew it would be an emotional undertaking.  I finally did it a couple of weeks ago.  It took me five hours to write three letters.  I gave it to them on my birthday since it’s possible they could be senior citizens before I die, and I want them to know my hopes for them before then.  None of them wanted to read their letter.  Carl finally opened his a few days later.  Then Gary was next.  Dale still hasn’t read his.  He has only gone as far as opening the corner of the envelope.

And that brings me to the point of this post (finally).  As I wrote those letters and thought about what I wanted to impress the most upon my children, it amazed me how easily it was to figure out.  It all boils down to the past, present, and future.

  • Past:  I have loved them with all my heart from the very beginning.  God has loved them even longer than that.
  • Present:  My only desire is that they will love God with all their heart and serve Him with all their might.
  • Future:  I want to see them in Heaven.

With their whole upbringing condensed to these truths, it seems that parenting has never had to be overly complicated.  It’s really all about taking the time to focus on what truly matters.

Gary, Dale, and Carl May 31, 2015

Gary, Dale, and Carl
May 31, 2015