One of the hardest things about being a parent is letting go. You have spent their lifetime raising them and protecting them. You soothed them when they fell down and cut their knees, you hugged them when a friend hurt their feelings. You worried when they were sick or out on a first date; actually every date. You beamed with pride when they accomplished something new or did something well. Your smiles covered everything from that first step to college graduation. You said prayers with them and hugged and kissed them with all your love, praying for God to protect them when you couldn’t.
Letting go is a process. It starts when they take those first steps. Sure, you are thrilled – at least for the first child. “Mommy” walked at ten months. Wasn’t she special and so advanced?!!! “Calvin” got close to ten months and I prayed that he would stay low to the ground. I had realized with “Mommy” that mobility means potential trouble and more supervision. “Calvin” did not walk until he was one, but I think that is more a matter of not trusting his sister. At one, he did not just toddle out a step or two, he took off across the room and never looked back. I think he was secretly practicing in his crib.
But anyway, you let go early. You let them walk and explore. You let them get into a little trouble, but not too much. You learn that if you gasp or looked concerned when the fall and get a small boo boo, they will panic and get hysterical. They build their confidence and you love them and worry and pray.
Then they go to school. More letting go. For some mom’s it brings a lot of tears. I always smiled, took pictures, made a big deal out of it. Again, if you look concerned it frightens them. So, you put them on the bus and smile as the bus drives away. It is so much fun when they come home and you get their interpretation of the day and what they view as important and memorable.
So it goes through life and you do the same process as they play their first sport, take swim lessons, go on an overnight, go to a school dance, go on a date, get a job and leave for college. College was the most difficult for me. It was a real life changer because they were just not there. They do come back after college. It is so hard for young adults to strike out on their own financially.
Give them time and space and some guidelines that you expect to have followed in your house. Do your own laundry, help with the dishes, maintain your own living space, give arrival and departure times. All things that are common courtesies. Don’t be afraid to charge them rent. It does give them a sense of responsibility and ownership. And let go. Giving advice at that point in their lives, is often unwelcome. They are all grown up after all! So, let go and start a new chapter for yourself! Happy weekend.
Wife, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Nurse, Grandmother, Friend...that's me in a nutshell!