Dear Russell,

I am a blubbering mess. I just cannot seem to stop crying. Every time I think about leaving for this trip to China to pick up your sister Lyla, I find myself in a pile of tears. It’s not the fact that I won’t see you for two weeks, though that will be hard. The reason for my tears is because I know when I say goodbye to you and board that plane, I am saying goodbye to an era with you – a very special season of life when you have been my one and only baby, and we have been a family of just three. That season is coming to a close, and it is so sad to say goodbye.
This past season of life with you has been so special to me. I remember when we found out that you were the size of a sesame seed inside of me. I remember the day we brought you home from the hospital, the moment you took your first step, and the first time you said, “I love you too, Mommy.” All of these memories and countless more I hold in my heart as priceless gifts. I love being your mom.
Maybe I am grieving the changes that will come as you continue to grow up. This whole grieving of you growing up is no joke, evidenced by my constant crying – whew!  In moments like this, life’s pains seem to teach my heart new depths. Right now before God, I am remembering that you’re not mine. Oh, I talk about you like you’re “my” child, but ultimately you’re not – you belong to God – and you are a gift to me. You have been entrusted to my care – and it is one of the greatest honors, privileges and joys of my entire life – but ultimately you lie in the hand of a great God who loves to give good gifts. You are a gift to me, a very, very good gift, and I honor the wonderfulness of you by sharing you with God.

Jesus keeps inviting me to let go and die a little. Leaving this season with you, relinquishing this era, feels like a little death. I want to freeze time and never let this go, never let you go, never have to hear you say, “Hold me, Mommy,” for the last time, never have to wave goodbye as one of us leaves the other. But Jesus keeps beckoning me to let go, to relinquish control and remember that you are in His ultimate care. He keeps reminding me that even you, dearest Russell, cannot, must not take the place of God in my life. It is only in holding all my wonderful gifts from God lightly, acknowledging that they never really were mine to clutch, that I can experience the freedom, joy, and life found in God-Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I so much want you to know that God truly is the best gift that life holds, even better than my love for you, or Daddy’s and my love for each other, or any other beautiful gift you or I can imagine.

I love you Russell, more than I ever realized I could. You are a gift from God to me, and I’m so grateful! When we sing, “He’s got the whole world in his hands,” that includes you, me, Daddy, Lyla and this sweet season we have shared.

I love you, honey,

Mommy