Watching our youngest daughter, Katie, prepare for another year of college has brought back a myriad of memories of those early “letting-go’s…”
“I can do it by myself!”
“I know you can, honey, but Mommy just wants to help you.”
“I don’t need your help!”
I’ve dreamed of this moment – the time when the girls would actually start doing more for themselves – a time when I wouldn’t feel like I was waiting on them hand and foot. But now that this longed-for occasion has arrived, something doesn’t feel quite right. I feel as if I’m losing something, like something precious is slipping away.
In fact, the longer that I’m a mother, the more I see that this vague feeling of loss is a continuous process. From their infancy until the present, our children’s level of dependency on Roy and me has changed dramatically. They used to be content to cuddle up on our laps for a story; now they’d rather have friends over to play. They used to run and jump in their Daddy’s arms when he walked in the door from work; now they sometimes don’t look up from what they’re doing.
As parents, we knew this would happen. In fact, we prayed that our children would grow up to be strong, independent adults. But it still isn’t easy to let go.
On Laura’s first day of school, my legs were like lead as I walked away, leaving her in a classroom of near-strangers. My vision was cloudy with tears and I knew I had to get out of there fast before everyone saw Laura’s mommy cry like a baby. My heart was heavy for several days – but it did get easier.
Of course when Mary starts “big school,” I’ll experience it all over again, but that’s all right. All these little “letting go’s” are preparing me for the big ones later on. And I know that when the day arrives and the girls walk away into college, marriage, or a career, I’ll feel pretty much the same way. And I’ll breathe pretty much the same prayer…Oh God how I love these girls…please take care of them for us!”
Oh Father, the girls are growing up so quickly. I’m beginning to see just how short-lived our time is together. Guide me as I strive to make our home a haven – a place of love, joy, and rest from this world – so that no matter how far they go, they can always depend on the love-light of home.
(From Time Out: A Quiet-time Devotional)
How has God helped you with the letting-go’s?