I have heard it said that parenting is a small series of letting go..the first crawling away, first steps, first “bye bye”, the first “no” (“I am a different person than you!), all the firsts…until your child is ready to live on their own, go to college, have their own lives.
This time of year, many people are posting sadness on social media about their child going to university and wondering how to let go.
I think this is so very individual, as individual as the temperaments and the situations and dynamics involved. Overall, though, I think if we build our parenting lives around the fact that our children are their own unique selves, their own people outside of us, with a journey when they are ready toward their own individual experiences, then the idea of letting go becomes helpful and not a hindrance.
If we are sad, that is for us to process and hold. It gives us space to find the new things in our life and to figure out how to forge ahead in our relationship with our children as that relationship is changing yet again. It is okay to be sad. However, this is the season of Michaelmas, a time of bravery and courage. Sometimes we just need to figure out what the new normal will be. We can make time for our now adults on their schedule, we can plan around them and go to them. We do this because we nurture these new adults in the family just the way we would nurture any other special and utterly important relationship.
One of our children told me the other night that she was grateful I taught her how to handle life. She said it wasn’t by giving her too much information or access into my own adult life or necessarily even sharing a lot about how I was as a teenager, but how I modeled and showed how we handle things that came up with a level of maturity. That was probably the best compliment I have ever gotten; that our children feel capable to handle life. Because that’s really what this parenting is all about.
Give your children roots and then wings to fly. Model, teach, guide at the different developmental stages and be prepared to be amazed by the young people that are born ready for this time in history on earth.
Feel how you want to feel about letting go as all feelings are valid! However, be proud of all the wonderful things you did for your children and the time you invested in them. That energy and time investment pays off in the long run with capable adults and seeing them so ready for life on their own terms is so heartening. Your relationship may shift and change, but it will never be any less. It just may have a different form.
Many blessings and much love,