Letting Go

Letting Go

When you first decide to have a baby (or even if it was a surprise), I think we all have this lovely idea of trips to the zoo, cuddling on the couch, and still being able to get all of our normal chores done (which we couldn’t even find the time or motivation to get done before having a little one around).

We all go through it.
We all SHOULD go through it.
It’s a part of the journey.
…and it gets you through labor. (Really.)

And then reality sets in. There are bottles to make, diapers to change, and so many people who want to see—forget make-up because that 5 minutes of extra sleep is just too sweet to roll out of bed…

Here I am—in this lovely, beautiful, heart-wrenching process called “parenting”.

I remember the first night I rocked Baby Girl to sleep in her own room—to sleep in her crib—in another room—down the hall. (I actually didn’t cry, but I thought about it.)

And it hit me.

Parenting is not only about “parenting” my children to become “contributing members of society”, as my dad would say…

But parenting is also about something that I have to allow to happen in my own heart from the very beginning

Letting go.

And oh, how we mothers (and fathers, I’m learning) hate it.
It’s definitely bittersweet.

But think about it. It’s a completely natural process. And it’s RIGHT. Baby Girl with her Dog

The first night after they are born is the first night that you must begin letting go.
They sleep in a little plastic box by your bed…not balled up in your tummy.

Then they sleep in their own room.
Then they begin to want down.
Then they walk.
Then they talk.
Then they go to kindergarten.
They begin to drive, go to college, get married, have babies….

Whooooooaaaaaa.

But how did we get there so fast?!

Exactly. It all happens so fast.

If you don’t allow yourself to begin celebrating in their victories behind your tears NOW, then you will find yourself in a not-so-happy place later.

Either you will control your children and they will never be independent adults capable of making their own sound decisions, or your children will manage to become successfully independent adults, leaving you behind in a confused and frustrated state.

I don’t like either of those options.

And so, I resolve in my heart to do my best to enjoy every stage that I am privileged to guide my babies through.

I will let them go—and let them discover—and let them be the person that God has created them to be, whether it’s always comfortable for me or not.

It will hurt.
I will cry.
Many times, I have the feeling.

But that’s the whole goal, isn’t it?
That one day, they can experience the life that I have been blessed with—freedom to follow Christ as He leads me.

No guilt. No condemnation. No explanation needed.

Freedom because a couple of people were able to let me go from the start.

Maybe some of you who have been at this a little longer have some good input on how to really make this happen…?

Until then, I must enjoy my brand new TODDLER. (EEK!)

Comments ( 10 )

  • My wife and I are old people who have raised (let go) of our 3 children and 2 grandsons…and we never found a way to do it without it tearing our hearts in two. The best salve could find to assuage our pain was the fact that every parent has endured it. I think they call it maturing…but it still hurts.

    Be encouraged

    • Thanks. I suppose growing up is bittersweet for everyone at some point. And the journey continues….might as well enjoy it as much as possible, I suppose.

  • Steve Laurence

    So you were listening…

    I found it easier to look at parenting like a journey, the goal being to have raised an adult. One way I found to keep myself on this track was to say it like that. “I am raising my adults”. Helps keep the focus and reminded me every day that my precious offspring were going to leave me. But, after all, that is their job. Children pass through our lives, so to speak. You never stop parenting, but they move out and have families of their own etc.

    My measure of success is simple. Do my children still talk to me, hug me when we get together, call me from time to time. As long as yes is the answer to those simple questions, I feel I have been successful in the relationship of father to my adults.

    There are many measures of success and this is just one. One I feel comfortable about. You go girl, I’ m proud of you!!

    • 🙂 Of course I was listening. I’m glad you’ve realized that you were a pretty darn good dad…and you’re a fantastic Papi! Thanks…for everything! Haha including all the quotes I’m bound to use…

  • Tiffany

    Thank goodness God lets us practice letting go slowly! Letting someone else watch them for the first time, letting them spend the night at a friend’s house, walking them to school on the first day of Pre-K. Now that my daughter is at the end of Pre-K, the teachers are now asking that we drop them off at the curb and not even walk them in 🙁 This is harder than taking her the first day I think! Baby steps…

    • So very true that at least we get to do it slowly! (If we do it right!) Good luck with dropping her off! I’m sure you’ll both do great!

  • As the mother of three–oldest is 26 and youngest is 18–I’ve found that letting go is a process and that you need to consciously consider what, in the long run, is best for your children and not you. Is it always easy? No. But I started with baby steps, like separating from my babies at early childhood classes. Then it was Sunday School and kindergarten and several days at bible camp… I had to learn to trust others to care for my children. So important.

    I remember the first time I allowed my eldest daughter to go on a youth mission trip to Texas over spring break during high school. I did not think I would survive the week. I did. And letting her go that first time made it easier to let go the next time and to see her off on a college spring break mission trip to Paraguay.

    All of this letting go of the first child made it easier with the second, especially when she studied and interned in Argentina.

    If you’ve done the best you can to set your children, with God’s guidance, on a Godly path, then you have to trust that He will continue to walk beside them. Letting go is so much easier with that perspective.

    My youngest leaves for college this fall, so I will see how I do when the final child takes flight.

    This was an excellent post on an issue so pertinent to parenting.

    • 🙂 I don’t know that I could say anything better. So glad that you agree and that it has worked!!! From what I’ve seen, it’s easy to err on either extreme–either too involved or not involved enough. Guess I still have a few years to try and figure out some sort of balance.

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