Saturday, January 15, 2011

Learning to let go

The last four months have been so strange.  For the 19 1/2 years preceding these last 4 months, my daughter was a constant in my life.  From the minute she entered this world until 4 months ago, the longest we had been apart was 1 week.  She didn't go to daycare, she didn't go to preschool, she was homeschooled.  She did sleepovers and playdates and even a week here and there at camp, but most of the time we were together.  After she graduated she had college classes and work and her own life, but we were at least connecting each evening as she told me about her day and asked about mine.  So it's been strange to have her gone with only 1 weekend home in the last 4 months.

Naturally it's made me think about what it really means to let go.  I knew it wouldn't be easy but my goal has always been with both of my kids to grow them up and launch them into independence.  But I was unprepared for how un-ready my heart would feel.  I wasn't prepared for the feeling that life went way too fast.  That the season of being a close family unit of 4 is over way before I thought it would be.  When my kids were school age I would tell them that I wanted my babies back.  I didn't want another baby, but I wanted to hold my babies, while they were babies, one more time.  

During these 4 months that my daughter has been away, my son has been growing into manhood.  He's almost 16, almost the same height as me (I'm 6' 1/2") and desperately wants to be treated like an adult.  And so I struggle doubly with the sense that life has gone way too fast.  That the years that seemed to stretch out before me when they were little are almost over.  And it brings so much anxiety.  Did I teach them the right things?  Did they learn how precious they are in my eyes and especially in God's eyes.  What if I made mistakes? (I did)  What if they make mistakes? (they will)  

But when I sift it all out it comes down to one key truth.  I'm trying to control things that are out of my control.   God didn't ask me to grow the fruit, He only asked me to be obedient in planting and watering seeds in my kids' lives.  I can't take credit for the good that God has grown in them and I can't somehow make things grow faster or better than the speed that God is allowing it to grow at.  God asked me to set a foundation in their lives.  He knew I would make mistakes, He knew I wouldn't be perfect, but he blessed me with 2 beautiful people to raise and enjoy anyway.  

My goal is to learn to let go while cherishing the relationships as they exist right now.  I want to live each day thankful for what I have rather than longing for what once was or what could have been.  Only by staying connected to and submitted to God do I have a hope of succeeding at that.

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