My first born son fought in Desert Storm. I will never forget the feeling I experienced the night I heard the ground war had started. I knew he had been on the first plane out…I lost it. We had recently moved to a new town, had new jobs and were in a new house. I had no close friends locally yet and when my husband walked into the bedroom and found me crying, he suggested that I call my best friend in the last town we had lived in. When Sandra answered the phone, she knew immediately that I was in need of hearing the right words. “Toni, he is on every prayer list I’ve seen in Mississippi”. Even the grocery stores had posters up for prayer lists and anyone could write a name on it. She continued, ”Our children are gifts from God and at some point we have to give them back and put them in His care. God doesn’t have grandchildren, you are His child and your child is His child.” I truly believe that God put Sandra in my life when I needed her the most. By the time I hung up the phone, I had completely surrendered! Remember, surrender does not mean to give up, it means to give up the end result. Eventually my son returned home safely and I don’t believe I experienced anything that millions of other mothers have also lived through. Many have not been as fortunate as I was.
Why do we have war? I know all the pat answers, but the pain and suffering we experience makes it seem senseless. I pray for global peace daily and ask everyone I know to do the same.
This writing however, is about letting go of our children. All parents have to go through this at some point. I think letting go of each child is different, and probably each parent may do it a little differently. Looking back, I had let go of my son long before the war, but knowing that he was in constant danger was what caused the pain.
A mother’s love for her children is different from any other love. The first time your baby is placed in your arms, it is love at first sight. You are filled with love from the tip of your toes to the top of your head. When you realize that you had a part in creating this beautiful little miracle, it’s overwhelming! I was lucky enough to experience that feeling three times… three beautiful little gifts. Being able to let them go on their own journey is not only a part of their growth, but it is also a big part of our growth. My hope is that every mother will find peace within when she is able to accomplish this surrender to God’s plan.
Toni True-Wills, Ph.D.