Letting go is going to be different than you expected and far more emotionally charged. After all, we’ve been so involved in our kids’ lives and have been determined to give them the best. And frankly, this is a huge economic investment. So recognize your feelings and sort out your emotions before the big departure. This is the time to use restraint. It’s probably best not to say ‘What am I going to do without you?’”
–Parenting expert, Michele Borba
Boston, August 2007
Just months before the release of my first book, Rock-Solid Families.
The years following felt nothing like “rock-solid.” No, they felt more like an emotional rock slide.
It’s inevitable. Children grow up and fly away. That is what they are supposed to do.
I just didn’t think they’d fly so far away.
He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”
-Jim Elliot, The Journals of Jim Elliot
I couldn’t stop crying. I tried.
Standing next to my 6’5″, twenty-five year old, strong/silent-type son, a wave of very powerful emotions hit me hard.
Normally I can get a grip on my emotions (I said normally), but this Sunday morning, as I stood in the middle of my son’s new church in McPherson, KS, they wouldn’t cooperate.
A few months ago, Rob and I decided it was time “to visit the children.” Our very first vacation where we travel to their new places/spaces and see them.
It might not seem like a big deal, but to us, it is.
Well, to me, it really is.
This momma boasts that she has let go. Thinks she has let go.
And, then, in the blink of a very teary eye, while standing next to my son, I realize I’ll never really let go. It just isn’t in my momma-heart DNA.
When the Birds Fly
First stop on our Midwest Vacation Tour, McPherson, KS., to see Grant.
After graduating from CCC of Kansas (2012), he came home for a short stint to work with the family business. That all changed when the invitation to develop and manage a college-run business, Two Tigers and a Truck, and be Assistant Coach for CCC Tigers Women’s Soccer Team, came. I knew the minute he decided to give this new opportunity a try, he would fly away forever, i.e., fall in love with small town life.
Seeing his new life and watching him embrace the community in which he lives did this Momma’s heart good.
Seeing him take on the responsibilities of both developing and managing this small company, did both his Momma and Dad’s heart good. We are indeed very proud.
Saying Goodbye to College-bound Kids
Parents rarely let go of their children, so children let go of them.
They move on. They move away.
The moments that used to define them are covered by
moments of their own accomplishments.
It is not until much later, that
their stories and all their accomplishments, sit atop the stories
of their mothers and fathers, stones upon stones,
beneath the water of their lives.’”
― Paulo Coelho
I know for a fact that many of you are facing the frightening waters of letting go of your college-bound son or daughter. Some of you might do really well. Some of you might fall apart. And some of you might feel like you’ve been hit by a truck.
All of you will be leaving a big piece of your heart right there in the middle of the campus parking lot.
I’ve been there. It does get better. I promise.
But for today, go ahead and cry. Give yourself permission to grow into this new normal. What once felt “rock-solid” just might feel a bit like an emotional rock slide.
Give it the space and time and gentleness it requires.
And, pray. Pray for that seemingly strong son or daughter, who just might be feeling a little emotional rock slide of their own.
Resources to help you “let go!”