Friday, May 2, 2014

Preparing Yourself To Let Go of Your Children

When is it that you begin to let go as a parent? When is that crucial pivotal moment in time, where you just know the “letting go” process has begun?

Is it when you first send your child off to kindergarten?

Is it when they have their first sleepover?

Is it when they become a teen? Or when they begin high school?

Is it when they go out on their first date? How about when they first begin to drive?

Each one is a transition. Each one is a step in the process of letting our children go. Trusting that what we have taught them has sunk in and that they will use their heads, be wise, discerning, and responsible. Each one is a test – in a way – for them and for us.

Some parents rejoice at each transition. They embrace the extra freedom that comes their way. And the independence that your child sets out on also comes to us, as parents. Once again we can reclaim some of what has been lost in the child rearing years. We can reclaim our own life, dreams, desires; a little bit again.

But each one also brings bitterness and pain. For me, I cried when my children went off to kindergarten. I missed them. I knew that that was the beginning of me no longer being the “great” one person they adored in their life. They would start to question my views, my thoughts, and even get irritated with me at times as they grew.

True growing pains.

Then when driving came into the picture, my heart about broke.  I was so excited to see my daughter’s enthusiasm and excitement. I rejoiced with her at this milestone in her life. But inwardly, I knew. I knew there was now something new to worry about for her. And more than that, I knew this step – maybe more than any other was the catalyst in me having to let her go. And that was painful for me.

Our whole lives as parents - our goal is to work ourselves out of a job. To love and devote ourselves so wholeheartedly and entirely to our children, that they can successfully leave and separate from us at the right time. LEAVE AND SEPARATE FROM US.

I just don’t always want that.

I am so thankful my children seem to have good heads on their shoulders. I admire their intellect and trust they will be responsible young adults. But with each separating event, I miss them. I miss their presence in my life. Their dependence on me. Their beautiful faces are seen a little bit less.

But that is the circle of life. And I have to trust in their love for me. That they will still want to involve me in their lives as they move on from being dependents to independents. That we can become friends and I can become more a confidant instead of an authoritarian. That I will be sought after and welcome to share in their joys and sorrows.  That is my goal.

Yes, our children were meant to leave us. And after I have a good cry, I can rejoice in their excitement over heading out into their life.  But their footprints will never leave my heart and soul. And I will never not miss having them around me constantly.

For that is the heart of a parent.


Julie is Coco and Cocoa said...

Love this! My oldest is 12, but he's already looking forward to driving :)
You're right, it's exciting and hard all at the same time. I love seeing the man that he is becoming, but it's hard to let go of my little boy.

Dionna said...

Thanks for the comment, Julie! 12 seems like yesterday. The years go by so fast!