According to my young idealistic twenty-something-year-old self-assessment, I was positive that the most challenging aspect of raising my two, twelve-months apart boys was getting them through the first years of their lives, protectively shielding their little eggshell heads, driven by the anguished sense that death could swoop them away at any moment.

I would lightly press my probing fingertips to my baby’s downy scalp, settle on his pulsing soft spot, and feel the electricity that sizzled between me and the child I had carried inside of me. The little spark buzzed and shocked our once joined flesh now separated.

But now I know that the hardest part of raising my babies was letting them go to make mistakes, to reap consequences, to be adults. They have to experience their own pasts, knowing that they cannot alter it, but they can change the story they tell themselves about it.

So being a mom never stops at any stage of development. It’s a matter of getting used to having your heart walk around outside your body and no matter the separating mental or physical distance, the extension cord remains plugged in, the electric shocks still signaling an alert.

Can a woman forget her baby who nurses at her breast? Can she withhold compassion from the child she has borne? (Isaiah 49:15)

The real mother spoke up to the king, for her motherly instincts were aroused.

1 Kings 3:26