I've gained much in listening to friends with older kids. Friends that can walk with you in parenthood and teach you all those hard things they've learned. And in teaching you, they help lift you to the level that they are on.
The hardest thing I've had to learn, and will forever be learning, is how to let go.
From the moment that tiny little baby arrives earthside, we begin the process of 'letting go'. The little munchkin starts to move, and slowly but surely they begin to move away from us. And if they feel secure enough they may crawl a few steps, and thankfully they usually crawl right back to mom + dad. I love that as hard as letting go is, there are gentle nudges and stretches along the way. We don't have to face this all at once.
I read a beautiful book my friend gifted little Piper. In it is a page that brings me to tears every time.
The homes we've created for our kids feel so BIG! In fact, they hold everything in their little worlds. How quickly this changes as school, friends, courtship, all come into play. They move on from our homes, they create their own homes, and we will need to be ok with this. We don't get to keep them.
My focus has always been on keeping a strong love connection with my kids. So how does this work with letting go? Aren't those kind of opposites? yes and no. For me, a strong bond means letting go is easier for everyone. I believe if they know how amazing they are, and how important they are, they can move forward with confidence.
We do not choose who our kids are or who they will become. We can only choose if we will love them despite our differences. Differences can be good or bad, but these little people will become their own people no matter what we do. In my 'letting go' process I've decided to build a strong rooted foundation to lift them up, and then encourage them to become who they were made to be.
I think the hardest part is watching them make mistakes. And I haven't even reached the teenage years. But the lovely thing is, I will be ready when they come. Because we don't birth teenagers, we birth babies. And God's plan is perfect in how He let's us start at the beginning and grow with them. We need not worry about this process, but trust in it.
Build up a community around you to offer you support in these hard things. Share your fears while you break bread together.
I am loving, leaning in, and listening to others as they guide me through the art of letting go.
Thank you to the lovely Leane + Keely for modelling this 'letting go' and to Leane for being my 'sister' in motherhood.