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Challenge: Life Changes

Loving Means Letting Go

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Loving means letting go

I don’t want to, but I have to. From the moment our children are born, this process of letting go begins.

In the beginning it’s more about us letting go of our “single” lives, the lives we had before kids. Letting go of sleep, of partying on the weekends with friends, of taking spontaneous weekend trips, of thinking only about ourselves.

But, before we know it, and before we’re even prepared for it, but just about the time we’re sleeping again and ready to really bond with our child….they start letting go… of our hold, so they can start to crawl, of our hand so they can walk on their own, of the lovey that got them through the scary nights…

It’s subtle, so much so that we sometimes don’t notice it as it’s happening. In fact, in the moment, we’re briefly relieved that they're becoming more independent until we hear the haunting words from a stranger telling us, “you’re going to miss this”.

Suddenly, we’re buying a backpack, new clothes, and school supplies, and we know that the right thing to do is let them go onto that bus…I don’t want to, but I have to. It’s what’s best for them.

Maybe they’re a little afraid at first, and we’re a little frustrated that they're so afraid. After all, it’s just school. But, then the next year they’re not afraid anymore and they can’t wait to leave….they’re letting go.

They grow taller than us and drive faster than us. They want to go to a school that’s far away from home. The words of my former 7-year-old echo in my head, “mommy, I’m never going to move away from you”. Yet, here he is loading the car to drive away. Far away. He says, “bye, mom”. I don’t want to say bye, but I have to. I know that it’s what’s best for him.

Loving our children is a continual process of letting them go, letting them move away from us so that they can live without us and become independent. I was not emotionally prepared for this when I had my kids. I knew that they would grow up to live their own lives someday away from us but I didn’t fully realize how heart wrenching the separation would be.

To be honest, my oldest has only just turned 7 but I can see his whole life flashing before me. My oldest daughter (5), who was once so painfully shy that she wouldn't move from the wall in dance class, informed me yesterday that she's ready to go to school all day with her friends next year. I thought I'd be thrilled when she was finally ready and somewhere deep, deep, deep down inside I truly am, but my heart wants to hold on to her forever. But, she's growing up and doesn't need to hide between her mommy's legs anymore. This is great, but it hurts so much. I guess this is one of the reasons why it's called "growing pains"....

I don’t want to let them go, but I have to. It’s what’s best for them. And for us.

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