Friday, June 5, 2009


When Branson started walking at twelve months of age, I felt instinctive confidence he would get it. I didn't follow him around with a soft pillow, waiting to cushion his fall. I just assumed his little bottom was fluffy enough (!) to soften the blow. Corbin and I expected that he would "get it" as he cruised around the round marble coffee table, chubby hands eventually letting go to take a few unassisted, bumbling steps toward the brown leather sofa.
And he got it.
With no visible bruises to speak of, the kid went from crawling to cruising to walking just like most other babies. Focusing a steady gaze toward his desired location, Bran cruised around a table or furniture with tentative hands, careful to keep his one-year-old body erect and balanced. After moments of quiet deliberation he took a couple of faithful steps, hoping those wobbly legs would carry him a few inches to his destination.
Very quickly, Bran's walking graduated into running. For several months as an infant he would sit unassisted, stationary with a pile of books and colorful toys on the sisal rug in our sunroom. Then came several months of crawling, as he inspected every dust bunny and roly poly and piece of debris lurking in the cracks of our wood floors. But that walking stage - it lasted about three minutes. Once he could walk, he learned to run. And with the running came jumping and leaping and scampering and skipping and sprinting.
Branson is now nine and a half, finishing the third grade today. I feel like he's spent the past few years, say from four to nine, learning to walk. Figuring out his path. Looking at what's ahead, taking tentative steps that frame his character and choices and decisions. He's deciding who he wants to be, forming a reputation with family and teachers and friends, determining whether he's a leader or a follower.
And just like the first round, for whatever reason, Corbin and I haven't been following him around with pillows. We've endured the successes and failures of watching his legs strengthen from wobbly, chubby appendages to strong, muscular limbs that propel him forward.
And now, he's running.
At nine, maybe not yet in a sprint, but definitely running.

More than half of his time living in our home has passed.
And I perceive his running will much-too-quickly morph into a sprint.
So what is my role, my job, my privilege as his mommy?
What I want to do is join him.
Not just sit and cheer from the sidelines, but join in and run this race with him. Maybe even sprint a bit when he's ready. I feel a little out of shape, but I don't want to miss it.
For me, one of the keys is keeping a lighter heart. More laughing. Extending freedom to let Branson be Branson, letting him know that Corbin and I are with him in this. We've only got a short distance to the finish line, really.

Lord, help me - with all these precious kiddos - to join in and cherish these short days. Sustain Corbin and me to run alongside Bran, Hud, Joy and Essie well. Give us encouraging, teachable hearts that demonstrate your deep, deep love for them.
And thank you most of all, Father, for this privilege of running.