How Great Thou Part

I make my way up the stairs. I wind around and take my place in the back of the line.

I hate goodbyes. I want to know that whomever is leaving is promising to come back to me. I don’t want to be separated from love.

The line moves slowly. As it should because we are here far too soon. It is too early to say goodbye to this handsome, talented, promising, twenty-three year old.

He is still a toddler to me. That is how he will remain. A rosy cheeked, fair skinned, leprechaun with an impish joy of life. I have no memory of him fighting over toys or pushing a willing, toddler adversary down. I only have memories of him smiling and laughing and observing those around him rather than being a little boy who would just grab for the most wanted toy.

It makes perfect sense later in his life. He is an artist. No wonder that even his toddler self was an observer. He did not rush through life, but rather he took it in.

This is how life started for Connor Brown.

It is also in many ways, the way I remember life starting for me. The day my children were born.

We found each other, his mother and me through my friend Katie.

We are first time moms. The kind that inch in, cross legged on the floor, our babies perched in front of us. We share laughter and mundane things, like what bottle and pacifier work the best. We cry when we are worried, feeling every inch of our babies growth and pains. We share secrets. The kind that bond women and not just mothers.

We morph from daytime mommies to carefree, nights out women. We giggle, we dance, we sing and we forge even more memories.

And then it is morning again. We meet for coffee and quiche. We feed our toddlers grilled cheese and fruit. We bond. We lean in and listen to one another while swiping our crying babies up and comforting them. We wipe their tears, dust them off and send them back towards their toddler teammates. We talk of growth percentages and developmental milestones, we speak of first words and first steps. We share stories of colds and ear infections and worries.

It’s a big love. A giant love. The kind where chubby, little hands throw themselves around our necks and kisses smack our cheeks.

There is a comfort in knowing our babies are growing together, at the right speed and that they do and like the same things. Uniformity makes us feel safe as young mothers as we feed our babies, push our strollers and walk along side one another. We go home and crawl into our beds exhausted, yet happy that we have found our people. The others out there like us. The young moms with babies who follow the path we think are meant for them.

Only the day comes where diapers are discarded, baby blankets packed away, pacifiers thrown out and toys gather dust.

It is the day that something miraculous happens.

Our babies grow into little people. They begin to walk into rooms before us. They slowly show us and the world, exactly who they are. The God given gifts below their surface demanding an urgency to bubble to the surface. It is now obvious the passions that rule them, the hopes that drive them and the dreams that beckon them.

We inch in, cross legged on the floor again, while our little people announce to us exactly who they are. It is not all that different when in their infancy, they boldly, took their first steps and strutted forth to grab the most pleasing toy.

It seems while we were busy worrying about them, they were busy going about the business of showing us who they are.

A few people in front of me march forward as the line begins to move. I catch sight of my friends. I will not call them by name. I will call them by who they became. They are the parents of Connor Brown. Connor Brown the individual, the artist, the funny man, the visionary, the humanitarian, the student, the altar boy, the kind and generous, old soul.

I lean in and hug Connor’s dad. His faith and love amaze me.

“God said, It’s time. Let’s go,” he says.

I walk away and I think to myself.

“‘God said, Let’s go.”‘

Let them all learn why I temporarily gave you to the world in the first place. To remind them to stand out in the world. To be your own person. To listen to the purpose I wrapped within your heart. To not be bothered by uniformity, but rather guided by the universality of love and kindness. To observe the wonder of the world and those in it.

I hate goodbyes. I hate being separated from love.

So I look towards the sky, I watch, I wait because today, Heaven is being painted by a new artist.
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