Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Letting Go...A Little Bit

I watched my oldest slip on his back pack for camp and felt a lump forming in my throat.  I have left him in the care of others before, but somehow this felt different.  He wouldn't be at home with a babysitter in familiar surroundings.  He wouldn't be in the church nursery with me sitting only a few feet away.  He was going to be with people I didn't know.  I had to trust them to care for him, understand him, and give him what he needed.  And I also had to trust him.

All kinds of little things came into my head.  Will he be able to open up the tupperware with his strawberries without help?  Will he be a good listener?  Will the other kids be nice to him?  Interestingly enough, all those same thoughts were running through his head.  "I'm going to share my marshmallow treat with anyone who wants it!" he announced on our way there.  "But if someone tries to take my lunch, I won't let them!"  I asked him what he might do if that happened.  "I'll just say, 'No!  That isn't nice," he answered.  And what will you do if they don't listen?  "Hit them?"  he suggested.  Good thing we did a run through.

At the last minute, he got a little nervous.  "I'm not so sure about this, Mommy," he said as I unbuckled his car seat.  "You're going to do great," I said trying to sound reassuring.  "How about I stick around for a bit in the parking lot.  If you get nervous, you can peak around and see me.  Does that sound good?" I asked.  "Yeah, good idea," he told me.

When we walked in, he was immediately at home.  He sat down with some other boys to build while I put away his back pack.  I was unsure whether he would be okay with a kiss (a first for me!) so I walked over and said, "Mind if I give you a quick hug?"  "Sure," he answered.  "That would be great!"

I waited in the parking lot for an hour with a good book then headed out.  My son was playing in the playground and he spotted me.  He ran to the fence and my heart raced for a minute.  Does he need me?  I put down my window.  "Mommy!  What in the world are you still doing here?" he said.  I guess not.

I realized today that I'm the one that isn't quite ready.  But I can't hold him back just because it's hard to let go.  So much of parenting is a series of little tiny things we have to let go.  "No Mommy, I can do it myself" starts before they are even two.  We have to give them little journeys out into the world and provide a safe harbor upon their return.  We have to trust them enough to let them fall.  And that can be really really hard.

I imagine some of you are preparing to send your babies to their first year of kindergarten, middle school, high school, college or even marriage.  Trust that you've done enough.  Be their safe harbor when things get hard.  And know that you're doing the right thing by letting them go, even if it's hard.  

P.S. I'll be praying for you!

1 comment:

  1. I remember feeling the same way when my oldest started kindergarten :) Your son is so cute!


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