Mom Life

Parenting is Letting Go

I’ve been a little off lately.  At times, maybe more than a little.  It took a few weeks and a drive alone for me to figure out what was causing my Eeyore thinking.  Just a normal day coming home from the grocery store and emotions flooded my heart all of a sudden.  I cried.  I talked to myself.  I whimpered.  I even wallowed for a while.  And then the truth stared me straight in the face.  There was a birthday in our home in just a few days.  And it felt like a big one…for me.  And it wasn’t even my birthday.

You see, the sweet girl who made me a momma was about to turn 15.  I know, I know.  Our culture doesn’t put much thought into 15.  But I realized right then, driving down the road, that the 5 years since she hit the big 1-0, had flown by.

The years from 10-15 were ones of such incredible growth.  Right there in front of me, every single day, I had a front row seat as I watched a young girl grow into a young woman.  We hit milestones and momentous occasions and celebrated each one.  The privilege that I have been granted by God to watch this blossoming has been humbling and thrilling.

If those 5 years could go by so fast…

So could the next 5.

And there was my heart.  Laid bare and raw with the thought of how much will change in these next 5 years.

There is always growth with children.  But, you see, I didn’t think about that when I said to my husband, “Let’s have a baby.”  The reality that a baby doesn’t stay a baby was not even a thought in my mind at the time.  Call me naive.  Call me immature.  Call me…an ostrich with her head in the sand.  But I had no idea at all what those four words would mean…for me, for him, and for her.

The concept of a baby growing into a toddler, and then a preschooler, and then a child, who will continue to grow physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually hadn’t crossed my mind.  Until…we were in deep.  Like, 3 kids deep.

But now, 15 years later, it stares me straight in the face.  These precious souls that God has allowed me to mother are here in my home for such a short time.  The days truly were long and the years short when they were little.  But now, the days and years are flying by.  Am I living each of them to the fullest?  Am I giving my children the best of who I am?  Am I fully present?  Do I laugh enough?  Do I enjoy them as much as I can?  Do I hold that hug a little longer?  Do I just sit and stare in awe of them enough?  And the questions can go on and on…

I pray that I answer yes to more of those questions every single day.

Because, you see…

I’ve realized that parenting is all about letting go.  And that shakes me to the core.  It causes an ache within my heart.  It unleashes the tears.

Why?

Because I don’t want to let go.

I want to hold them tight and keep them near.

Why?

Because it will make me feel better.

But parenting isn’t about me.  {Yes, it has led me on a path of santification like nothing else in my life.}  Really though, parenting is about them.

Growing.

Taking small steps.

And then bigger ones.

Followed by leaps.

And I see these next 5 years filled with big steps.

And then leaps.

Followed by flight.

From the time she was born, I have held her life in my hands.

At first, my fists were tightly wound around her.  She was safe.  Protected.  In my hands.

But as she grew, my fists opened a little bit.  Shafts of light shown in and she began to explore and learn about the world apart from me.

Every day, my hands open just a smidge more.

And I can now see that these years from 15 to 20 will require me to…

open my hands fully…

palms spread wide.

It will mean giving her the freedom to take flight.  To follow the dreams God is building within her heart.

And I don’t want to.

But you know what?

I will do it.  With a smile on my face and joy in my spirit.

I will embrace the moments.  Laugh a little more {and a bit louder}.  Speak words of truth, even when they hurt.  Guide and encourage.  Walk alongside of her.

Relax my hands around her.

Prepare her for flight.

Dream with her.

{Cry when she can’t see me.}

Open my hands fully and release her.

Watch her wings flutter and take her on new adventures.

Away from me.

But still always in my heart.

I wasn’t prepared for this that evening 15 years ago as my husband drove me to the hospital and I witnessed her first breath…and they placed her on my chest.

Her life is forever intertwined with mine.

And it will be.  Because we always need our momma’s.

Just not every day.  And not for every decision.

So, as I watch this beautiful young woman continue to grow and mature, I prepare my heart for her full release.  And until then, I soak in every single moment.  Savoring the days.  Breathing in thankfulness.  And exhaling joy.

Knowing that letting go is what I must…what I will do.

xo,

Leigh

11 Comments

  1. Katie

    WAAAAAAAAAA!!!

    1. Leigh

      I know!!!!! ♥

  2. Mary

    Beautiful!!!

    1. Leigh

      Thank you, Mary! ♥

  3. Donna Bodrog

    Leigh, this was beautiful. I remember those years…God Bless you momma ♥️

    1. Leigh

      Thank you, Donna! Yes, good days. And I know there are good days and years ahead too. ♥

  4. What a beautiful testimony. I’m right there with ya with my oldest ready for his permit. I want to hold on so bad. Hard to let go, but the joy of seeing him bloom is what it’s all about. Hugs!

    1. Leigh

      Yes, Larissa, the “joy of watching them blooom” outweighs it all! ♥

  5. Marianne

    Tears are flowing. But you will experience such joy with the woman she will become… just as your mother has and prayerfully will continue to for a very long time.

    1. Leigh

      Yes, Marianne, you are so right. So much joy ahead…it’s the change in parenting seasons that get to my heart though. ♥

  6. Susan

    How timely in many ways. I just saw some pictures come across my computer’s screen saver when Amelia was 3. It wasn’t that long ago.

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