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?
No, I don’t want to prepare my heart!! 😉 it is amazing how long the days are and short the years. 🙁 🙁 I do often think about them leaving one day and how it was such a great experience for me, when I left home. But then I don’t want to think about it anymore!! I think a good point you brought up is accepting something new for you. We do so much for our littles and its important for our happiness and sanity to have our own thing, too!
Amy’s latest post: My kids are shy, we homeschool, and I may or may not worry too much
Thanks Amy, it is hard to think on . I think I should start developing new hobbies now, so I’ll be ready when all the kids have moved out in about 17 years 😉
Cheryl Pitt’s latest post: Dairy Free Protein Powder – Link Up
Coco J. Ginger
I was homeschooled 🙂
That’s wonderful! Do you care to share ways your parents helped you flourish on your own?
Cheryl Pitt’s latest post: Dairy Free Protein Powder – Link Up
I’m letting go of Child #2 this season, but for some reason it’s harder than the first. I think what I learned the first time around — that I really have no control over anything and my sanity depends upon how much I depend upon God — has given me a different perspective in that I’m not so presumptuous about “how thing will be”. I just assumed my daughter would always be my little shadow and so I didn’t make a big fuss about her going. The past 7 years has clearly shown otherwise! Now that I know the truth, I am trying harder than I ought, than is healthy, to hold on to every moment as my son prepares to go. There are some great reminders in here, Cheryl, about what’s good about having a child ready to go and about letting them. “If your child is strong enough to step out on their own (even if they’re scared) then you’ve done something right, mom.” “I will have more time. What I do with that time is up to me.” “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.”
Yes, I’m preparing to let go of my daughter, my second child. It’s a bitter-sweet feeling because I’m proud of the beautiful woman she’s becoming and I know she’s ready for this next chapter of her life, but that next chapter means great independence for her and further distance from me, in every sense of the word. We’ll even be in 2 different countries for a while, and I know I’ll worry about her. But, we are so close as mother and daughter and that gives me comfort. And, of course, this is only natural, for our children to grow up and leave home. Also, her leaving home changes our family dynamics at home. I have 2 younger children and it just will not be the same without their big sister around, just as it changed when their big brother left home. One thing I can say from my experience so far with my first is that it can be fun to see what they do and where they go from “here” (meaning, home). It’s fun to hear reports from my son who first went to a year at a university, and now is finishing up a 2-year mission for our church. He’s grown in so many ways during the past 3 years, and I know it will be the same with my daughter.
Camie’s latest post: To This End Was I Born
Lovely post, thanks for sharing. Kevin