Releasing The Reigns

When I hear parents talk about “letting go”, I picture Moms crying and Dads hugging their kids dropping them off for college, or helping them move into their own place. In other words, I’m thinking of the kids as adults. That’s the time, I tell myself, that I have to build up for. That’s when I know I’ll have to let my baby go. But the lessons are coming much faster … and earlier … than I’d wanted or anticipated.

A dear friend was watching my boys for me. As I picked them up and prepared to leave, she and her sons mentioned they were going to see a movie. My 7-year-old perked up, and said he’d been wanting to see that movie. He started asking if we could go. I responded with my all-encompassing “we’ll see”, which really means I have a ton to do today and I don’t see it happening, but I don’t want you to cause a scene. Lol. Then my friend offered to take my son with her boys. He cheered. I cringed.

I made a few excuses, thinking each one valid. My husband refuted, saying let him go. Tentatively, I agreed. I put him in their vehicle and kissed him goodbye. Not until I watched them pull off, did I realize the reason I was hesitant to say yes. It wasn’t because I don’t trust my friend – she’s amazing and loves my kids like her own. It wasn’t because I didn’t know what they were going to do – see an appropriate kids’ movie and have pizza. And it wasn’t even because I would be out of the loop – my friend said she’d text me the entire time and even send pictures. So why didn’t I want to let him go? Because I was doing just that …. letting him go.

And it hit me. Letting go of your children isn’t just a one-time thing. And it definitely won’t wait until they hit adulthood. Letting go is a very gradual process, somewhat sneaky in its devices. Your heart hurts a little, and you realize they are growing up right before your eyes. You smile wistfully, and silently resolve to make the best of every precious moment now.

My son is back at home now – after several texts and pictures during his time away. But as I think back on his first day of school, watching him get hurt playing sports, and now letting him go out with his friends (without me), I understand that doing my job in helping him to grow up, means doing my part in letting him go…..

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