I researched for weeks. I went to every toy-store/baby supply store in Michigan. I carefully examined each possibility.
Some looked uncomfortable. Some weren’t soft enough. I was Goldilocks in search of the car-seat that would be “just right.”
Our budget was newly-wed/ newly parent tight. I debated the practicality of an infant car-seat that would only be usable for a short time. But when compared to the convertible infant toddler seat, there was no further thought needed. The infant seat was cushy, soft and would cradle my baby, not quite as comfy as my arms, but the seat would be safer.
We bit the budget bullet and ate macaroni and cheese for a month. We bought the cushy, safe seat. Later, we did it again to upgrade to the toddler seat. Finally, we moved our little guy to a booster seat, then the big-boy seat belt, his feet dangling, but not quite reaching the floorboards.
I swear it was yesterday. No- yesterday (well a few days since) it was my two oldest climbing into a Mustang convertible (the irony of that being my all time favorite and never ridden in car is not lost on this momma;) with a friend of theirs and heading off to Walmart.
There were no carefully chosen car-seats. There was no Mom adjusting the seat-belts. Their feet no-longer dangle. They are old enough to drive themselves. My two oldest sons are men now- no longer children. They are good guys. They have level heads on their shoulders. They wear their seat-belts without fuss. They do their homework. (Mostly) They choose their friends well.
I am proud. I am glad. I am relieved that they survived fevers, stitches and asthma attacks. I’m glad that I haven’t totally “wrecked them”. (I suppose the jury is technically still out on that one- but so far-so good;) I like my guys. I like who they are and who they are becoming. We’re not picking car-seats anymore- we’re visiting colleges. Discussing options for career paths, instead of toddler seat versus infant seats.
The decisions are no longer mine to make. I have input, but not control.
I remember as a young parent, being at the park, or the grocery store, and having a gray haired smiling face lean in close to mine, whispering, “Treasure this time, it goes so fast.” I remember praying that I could survive a shower-less, unending new mom day, thinking that if one more person told me to treasure it- I would scream. In their face. Later, I could plea post par-tum. I would thoroughly enjoy it.
Before I had the chance to, I must have blinked. When I did, the car-seat turned to a convertible. The worst part? I realized all those smiling gray heads were right.
The days do seem to crawl- but the years slip by at light speed. I am in an interesting place. I am both a Mother of young adults and a Mom of a Kindergartner. I am not rushing through this one. I know by experience how fast time goes. There is a car-seat in the back of my old SUV for my youngest today, but he’ll be driving it (probably the same one, I now realize, as we prepare our budget for college expenses!) tomorrow.
Left to my own devices, I’d be afraid. I like control. I feel most confident when I have the most control. I had a lot of control in choosing a car-seat. I was confident that I had made the safest decision. I have little control or even illusion of control anymore. It should scare me.
But- mostly- I’m not. I know- that my guys are in the safest car-seat of their lives. They are in God’s own hands. He has a plan for their lives. Sure, it probably includes pain and learning the hard way and sickness and most likely even loss. But by experience- I also know- that whatever “wrecks” or “car accidents” that happen in their lives- He will be there to comfort and to heal. He will be there to guide and direct. He always has been for me.
I trust His plan. (Even though I sometimes wish it could be different)
” For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to
prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Dear Jesus- please help me move through this next phase of mothering- as my guys drive around top-down in convertibles- help me to trust in your plan for them. God- I pray that you’d always be close to them as a a car-seat- giving them protection, healing them when hurt and drawing them ever closer to your heart. I love you Lord- and thank you for the privilege of being their mom-and chief car-seat chooser- amen.