"Front Row Center!" I yelled back so her sweet little ears could hear.
Everyone knows that is the best seat for any show. I fully intended to sit front row center too. I had told her that is where I would sit and that was exactly where I was headed. Until I came up to the front two rows marked RESERVED. Her dance teacher would eventually be in the front row center chair and there was nothing I could do about it now. Since I had watched every rehearsal, I knew that she would actually be on the front row stage left so I picked the next best seat to front row center, a seat on the side I knew I would best be able to see my little girl. This became *My* front row center.
And so it has been for the last 18 years. My front row center is the best place for me to see the faces that rock my world. The little people to grown children who I have poured my very life into. My front row center looks different for each child and for each event and for each moment. Sometimes my front row center was quietly holding a frightened child in the middle of the night lying next to them on the bed. My front row center has been sitting out in my car as a lesson takes longer than it should. My front row center has been on the visiting side of the field so I could get the best angle at the position he was starting. My front row center has been at the top of the bleachers to see over a dugout. My front row center has been on Game Changer when I had to be in four places at once. My front row center has been in another room of our house while teenagers hung out. My front row center has been on the opposite side of the stage so I could watch the expression of my dancer coming on. My front row center has been peeking through a small window on my tippy toes to see what was happening on the other side. My front row center has been slowly creeping my way to a better view. My front row center has been on the phone listening to the tears. My front row center has been through pictures and video taken from a sweet friend when I was front row center for another child. Sometimes my front row center isn't even actually a place but in my heart. In the moments quiet with my Heavenly Father on behalf of the ones He has entrusted me. In the pleas for Him to intervene because only He could see. In the unspoken needs that I didn't even know existed. My front row center is the very God Who created them, sees them, knows them, and can be trusted with their very life.
I am about to take a new front row center from 4 hours away as I send my oldest off to college. This will be the farthest front row center I have ever sat. I have never not had a day where I wasn't there being in my front row center for him. 18 years of knowing where he was, who he was with, what he was doing...being in my front row center. My view will look very different in the next few weeks. I keep picturing the day we go to drop him off. For the first time, I won't know his friends, or be able to picture what he is doing. I won't be able to meet up with him at the end of a long day with a talk over reheated supper, or to hang around the kitchen table or to come in to hug him good night. It will be a very different look from where I sit and one I am not 100% sure of what to expect. So I am giving my seat up. One that was never really mine to begin with. One that was always saved for me in advance. He will be, has, and always has been the One truly in that seat. He knows his coming and his going. His lying down and his getting up. My front row center seat will be trusted to the One Who can be trusted. He will be my game changer, my video, my text. And I will go to Him when I can't see from the small window, from the opposite side of the field, from the driver side window.
I will be on my knees in the quiet of my closet. Giving Him my seat. Allowing Him to be the One to watch over this young man who has been one of the stars of my show for the last 18 years. I trust God with his life. With the plan for his future. With his daily comings and goings. Through my Heavenly Father I will be "watching." Taking in every moment by praying and going to the One Who sees him. I imagine him asking as he takes his first steps out of our home, "Mama, where will you be watching?"
From the front row center.