Parenting – Holding On While Letting Go
Big day today. Big week, in fact.
Last Thursday, my husband and I took our oldest daughter to the college she will be attending for the next four years. It’s what she wants to do, and so it’s what we want for her. But good grief, is it hard to navigate this particular transition.
We’re a close family, spend a lot of time together, and homeschooling has been a big part of our girls’ education experience. I’ve wanted this extra time with my daughters, and I wouldn’t trade a minute of the many things we’ve been able to do together because of it.
Today marked another transition. My three younger daughters are going back to regular school, a choice that I think is a good one for them at this time.
So that leaves our entire family with a lot of adjusting to do.
Navigating the different phases of our lives is a lot like navigating a boat across an ocean. There are days when the sailing is smooth as silk, and things just seem easy and good. And then there are others, especially the days of transition, when the waves are so choppy and unfriendly that we wonder if we’ll ever find our way out of the storm.
Parenting is certainly like this. Having children is one of my greatest blessings in life. But I made a deal with myself early on. That I would never hinge my happiness and fulfillment completely on them. One, that’s a lot to ask of a child. Two, they are going to grow up and make lives of their own. I very much want to stay a part of their lives, but I know that in order to be fulfilled themselves, they will separate from us and make new friends, form new interests and life goals.
As they should. It’s the right thing. I want the right thing for them.
But no one ever said choosing the right thing would be easy. And in this case, it isn’t. Figuring out how to let go while still holding on to what was, what is and what will be.
If you’re a parent experiencing these same feelings, we’ll get there. The ocean will smooth out again. The views will be different because we will have sailed to a new place. But we’ll find beauty and happiness there, too. We’ll wait it out. It will come.
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