“…and while she held him, she sang, “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be…the baby grew and he grew and he grew…”

From Love You Forever by Robert Munsch

A dream...

I am so tired.  But I cannot rest.  I fell asleep last night after being up for about 36 hours…36 hours of thinking and praying and loving and talking and teaching and holding and guiding and soothing and seeking…I was so tired.  I quickly fell into a deep sleep, only to be awakened by a dream.  In this dream--there’s so much I can’t remember now--I was giving my son gifts.  When I woke, I was in so much physical pain.  I got up and slowly walked through the dark, still thinking about my boy.  I stood looking out of the window and into the night wondering if the pain I was feeling was similar to the pain my son must be experiencing in the dark, in another house, and in another bed.  I was trying to hold onto my dream about giving my son gifts but I could feel it already slipping away like smoke through my fingers…

A direction, a guide...

My son, my brown boy…was shot yesterday.  Oh my, I got so busy!  Without even realizing what I was doing, I found myself taking on the role of taking someone else’s experience and dissecting it and breaking it down and trying so hard to re-teach it in a desperate attempt to make sure he was understanding the significance of this occurrence in his life.  I couldn’t tell anyone that it was hard to look at him for too long but when I did, I watched the ghosts of “the sins of the father’s” as they situated themselves in so many of my boy’s looks and behaviors and thinking. But, nevertheless, I remained confident. “I got this, God!” I thought naively.  But as the day progressed, I finally had to concede that my son was not “mine.”  Yes, I brought him into this world but really my job now was to guide this soul on it’s very own, distinct and separate journey from mine, back to his Creator.  The same Creator that intricately knit my baby together in the darkness of my womb and loved him even more than I, his mama, did.  And as I stood in my backyard as the sun was finally beginning to slip away, my only question was, if I say I Love my son, what then is my responsibility to him?

An epiphany...

Slowly, I began to understand that I was going to have to learn the delicate dance of how to Relinquish But Not Reject.  (deep breath…so that’s what “hold on loosely” meant)  Sometimes, when I look at my son, I believe that one of the reasons I had to experience, and thankfully survive, my own “wilderness experience“ was because God knew that I was going to have to be well-versed in the thinking and language of “that life.”  Now, in my new life, when my son says and does things that seem quite insane and hurtful, I don’t internalize it and allow it to sear and cauterize my heart. There are so many times I have found myself wanting to scream, “Oh baby, you don’t want to reap the consequences of that decision you are making.  Your mama has already explored that dark road and, baby, I promise you that I paid that price for you so please just listen…”  So often, we don’t understand the eternal things that hang in the balance until it’s too late.

So, again, I ask “If I say that I love my son, what then is my responsibility to him?”  Well, firstly, it is essential that I do the daily work of taking very good care of myself.  And while that may sound selfish to some, I understand that I must nourish my entire being so that I am healthy and strong on all sides, because if I do not, I too will be in danger of being sucked into that dark vortex that feeds on my hopes and dreams and my future and the future of my children and grandchildren.  I have to keep myself strong and of sound mind because when my boy is ready, he’s going to need me to teach him some things, just like when he was a baby.  He’s going to need me to show him how to get “battle ready” so that he, too, will be able to wage war against that life with a resolute and grim determination.  He’s going to need me to know how to pray.  He is going to need me to speak the language of Love and Truth to him.  He will need for me to demonstrate for him that surrender is not the “giving up” but rather the “giving over” to the One that is greater than he…And if my son ever reaches that place where he is forced to look out over his life and survey the calamity and carnage that is left in the wake of his “wilderness experience,” I want to be able to encourage him to not grow faint at the sight of it all.  This particular place in the Journey can be exquisitely painful but it’s so necessary.  It’s this fiery process that refines and distills us down to the essence of who we are meant to be.  And if I say that I love my son…all I can really do is demonstrate to him how we are to get up over and over and over and over again, and Fling ourselves into The Current of Life and allow it to wash and renew him…and all he has to do is RIDE THE WAVE, BABY!!!!  (Life starts to get real good at that point!)

But for now, I am so grateful for time…

~I have more time to love and to teach and to hold and to say “yes” more than “no” and “thank you” and to hold and kiss granbabies and to smile more than being angry and to forgive and to point out the stars and moon just beyond them and to feel the warmth of the sun and to hear beautiful music and where there was no Hope, I can create some. Places that had never seen Love, I can go show some...and places that are still hurting, well, I can go back and tend to them. But the most powerful thing of all: I can Pray!~


Yes, these are the gifts I will give my son.

With Love,
His Mama


Photography Credit: Tanisha Lynn Credit