The following is a post by Cheryl Pitt of CherylPitt.com.
It’s that time of year — graduation!
Our children have reached the age of legal independence. Some of them may be heading off to college, perhaps even far away. It’s time to let our children go, literally, not just figuratively anymore.
For the first time ever, I’m navigating these difficult waters. Who knew it would be so hard to let go?
My firstborn is a senior. He’ll be graduating in a few short months.
While he’s not planning on moving away right now, he is taking hold of his newfound independence with a firm grip. I couldn’t be more proud of him, yet it still breaks my heart.
To help myself through this emotional time, I’ve chatted with a few older, wiser women in my life. They were all full of wonderful advice.
The main theme of our conversations always seemed to come back to one thing: acceptance. Below, I’ve shared a few nuggets of wisdom my friends gave me. I hope these words will bless other moms who are letting their children go this season.
Accept The Inevitable
When our children are little, 18 years seems like a very long time. Graduation, college, moving out … it all seems so far away it’s unfathomable. Then, quite suddenly, the day that would never get here, arrives. What’s that saying?
If we’re not prepared, the seemingly sudden onset can throw us for a loop. We must accept that this is the way it’s meant to be. While difficult, it’s a good thing.
So, prepare your heart mom. The day is coming.
Accept It’s Not The End
Without realizing it, we’ve been encouraging independence all their lives — sleeping through the night, walking, potty training, and on, and on.
This is just one more step in growing independence. Sure they’re not at home as often, or maybe not at all, but that’s the way it’s supposed to be.
If your child is strong enough to step out on their own (even if they’re scared) then you’ve done something right, mom. Be proud of yourself.
This is not the end. It’s a new phase. Just as we celebrated when our children began sleeping through the night, perhaps we should also celebrate this step. Let’s greet our children with joy and excitement over beginning “their life,” not just sadness of letting go.
Accept Something New For You
This is what I fear I will struggle with when my last bird leaves the nest. What comes next?
If we don’t have any more children, when my youngest graduates I’ll be 51 years old. That means 34 years of my life will have been dedicated to mothering — almost 30 years to homeschooling! That’s a long time.
Then what? Who will I be? What will I do? Those questions scare me!
I’m joking, sort of. Part of me looks forward to that time with excitement (maybe I’ll FINALLY be able to take naps!) another part of me worries (what could possibly be as fulfilling as mothering??).
But there is no getting around it. I will have more time. What I do with that time is up to me. I hope I use it to do something new, to continue my education and passions — and use those to bless others.
We’ve all seen how different our children are; it’s fascinating. Even twins can be like night and day.
They are each born with their own personality and uniqueness. That doesn’t change as they get older. In fact, I think the idiosyncrasies become more pronounced with age.
Even if their quirks make us crazy, even if they fall short of what we know they are capable of, we need to accept our grown children for who they are.
Love them for them. Not because they’re perfect (they’re not), or because they deserve it (they don’t always), but because they are yours.
Keeping the love flowing keeps the lines of communication open. It makes them feel safe and accepted. And if they feel safe and accepted they may want to come home
or just because.
And they may bring their friends and dogs with them … but that’s a different issue.
Are you letting go too this season? Or are you preparing to do so soon?