Letting Go

From the moment we give birth, the rest of that child’s life is training ground for independence. It is also preparation for us to “let go”. Once the baby is born it no longer needs the mother’s body to survive. Once the baby is weaned, he or she can drink from a cup. When the baby learns to walk it is no longer dependent on us to get them from room to room. Each “new thing” the child learns gives him or her a little bit more independence from mom and dad. As parents we get so excited to see them do things on their own, we clap and cheer on their accomplishments. As a new parent, you don’t think down the road too far because you are relishing each moment of “newness”. BUT, there comes a time when those tiny feet that relied on you for their very existence, walk out the front door and begin their life as an independent adult. No amount of training, experience, or years on the job, prepares you for THAT stage of life. The reality hits hard – you are no longer needed in the same ways you’ve always been needed. This human is fully capable of taking care of themselves, making decisions, and forging a life all their own.

It’s a mixed bag of emotions I had as I sent my second child off to his final year of college this week. When it finally hit me that he would not be returning home to live, but rather just to visit, I kind of lost it. Not going to lie, we’re talking ugly cry! I did this a year ago when my daughter got married and moved out. You would think I knew what to expect and it wouldn’t affect me as much. Umm, that’s a big NOPE! I am not ready for this boy of mine to live out in the crazy world, on his own, without my watchful eye. My daughter had her new husband to look after her. Who’s going to look out for my son? It’s possible that while I can grieve the loss of one phase, I am, at the same time, rejoicing and bursting with pride, that this next phase is here and he’s ready for it. Oh, is he ready! After all, from the moment I saw my son’s sweet little face and held him in my arms, I have been letting him go, day by day. Each “new thing” was a release, a reminder that I am needed less and less, and that is EXACTLY as it should be.

So, while we don’t want to look down the road too far, let us remember that our purpose as parents is to prepare our children for the day when they walk out the door for good. Prepare them well. Take them to church. Spend time reading God’s word to them. Pray with them. Encourage their strengths. Guide them in their weaknesses. Create the boundaries. Discipline them. Cheer for them. Listen to them. Laugh with them. Let them teach you. Hold them close. Stay up with them. Wait up for them. Be available when they want to talk. And, Lord willing, when they are grown, they will call you friend.

Letting Go is a hard thing to do but it is so rewarding. If I don’t let go, then I never get to see the blessed life my kids can have beyond the walls of home. I miss out on seeing them blaze their own trail and walk their own journey. If I hold on too tightly, I don’t see their wings grow and watch them fly. That would be so much harder. So, I choose to let go, smile with pride, and wave goodbye. Then, I go inside and ugly cry, hold their childhood teddy bear, smell their pillow, and say a prayer that God holds them close.

A verse to remember:

Prov. 22:6 - Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

A prayer for the adult child as they leave home:

Phil. 1:6, 9-11 - And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

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