Parenting is a roller coaster of emotions and learning.
From the time your child is born, so is the parent’s instinct of protection. You want to keep that little bundle of love swaddled and kept close to your heart, away from anything or anyone who could possible bring harm to it.
Little by little, you learn to let go.
It’s never easy, and contrary to what I once believed, doesn’t get easier.
You hold their little hand when they walk to help them keep from falling. Until the day you learn to let go. Now, as they stumble and fall (I swear it happens in slow motion) you as a parent want to scoop them up and make sure they are okay.
Some parents do.
I always gave my kids a few seconds to realize that they were okay before I swooped in. I would help them stand up and brush their little hands off, and then we would celebrate that victory.
The first day of dropping them off at daycare was rough. Walking back to the car to go to work, knowing that you had to let them go, had to trust that someone else would be there to wipe off the tears and make them smile.
Their entire life, little by little, you let go.
You let them go off unsupervised with friends, hoping and praying that the lessons you taught them will lead to them making good decisions. You let them get behind the wheel and drive away from where you stand watching.
Over and over, you let them go.
Looking back, I wish I had cherished those moments a little more.
Now, as my adult son is getting ready to leave for boot camp in a month, this Mama Bear is having a rough time letting go.
I’m not a helicopter mom by any means. But, my oldest son and I are very close. He has been away from me before so that’s not why it’s so hard for me. He’s never been somewhere where if he needed something, or needed to talk, or was upset about something, he couldn’t pick up the phone and call me.
Don’t get me wrong, I am so excited for him. I think he will do great. I’m hoping that he finds success and makes new friends. I’m hoping that this new path he is on, no matter how hard and full of obstacles, is one that will challenge him and his capabilities and show him how strong he is.
But, knowing that once again, I have to sit back, smile, and watch him go is so hard.
My heart is full of pride when it comes to him. I believe in him. I know he can do this, and I know I will survive this.
But dang. Letting go sucks!