We all need to learn from others who have gone before us. I’m so thrilled to share my friend Christa Hutchins’ words of wisdom today in our letting go series for all of us Moms with a bit of anxiety as we let go of our kids…
“Fall” is a relative term below the Mason-Dixon line and is not marked by falling leaves or falling temperatures. Here, we know it is fall by the start of certain activities, like school and football practice.
For most southern schools and universities, the bells have already started ringing, and with them, the annual cries of mamas watching their babies walk into new phases of life.
Little ones scampering off to kindergarten shouldering shiny backpacks stuffed with Kleenex boxes and hand sanitizer.
Big ones entering high school with high expectations of fun and high anxiety of fitting in.
Almost-grown ones starting college, experiencing freedom and responsibility like they’ve never known before.
And mamas of all of them, wondering how their babies have grown up so fast and what in the world are they going to do now??
For the first time in 22 years, I’m not sending anyone back to school. No glue sticks, notebooks or dorm-size fridges for me. But even during all of the transitions we weathered, I never cried as I sent one of my babies into a brave new world.
Maybe because I’m not much of a sad cry-er anyway. I’m more likely to cry when I am mad than when I am sad.
Or maybe because I worked full time and didn’t face a suddenly-empty house as the school bus rolled away.
I think more than anything, I experienced the joy of letting go. Not the freeing joy of letting a heavy burden go and watching it drop to the ground. No … more like the expectant joy of letting something precious go and watching it fly higher than I could imagine.If you are facing one of these transitions this year, you probably have a heart jumbled with emotions. Some are about you, and some are about them. If you want to experience the joy of letting go rather than the sadness of loss, here are some places you can start.
Let Go of Mom Guilt
Especially if your kids are older, right about now you might be experiencing some regret over things you did or didn’t do. You didn’t make enough family memories, you didn’t teach them to cook, you did let them get away with too much. Mama, let me tell you …. nothing you can do now will change any of that one bit, and you did a lot more right than you did wrong. So let go of the mom guilt, and embrace the excitement your pride and joy is feeling right now as she takes these brave new steps.
Let Go of Your Fear
Will he make good choices? Will she study enough? Will other kids pick on him? Questions we’ve all asked. But it’s those fears of the unknown that drive us to be “helicopter parents” who obsessively check online grades, volunteer to be at every school event and check up on every place they go. Because, really, how could they possibly do the right thing if we aren’t there to watch over them? Being an involved parent who is aware of her child’s environment is a good thing, but when it’s driven to the extreme by fear, it creates barriers and dependencies that serve neither the child or the parent.
Let Go of Your Loss
Honestly, this transition is not about you. It’s about them. When you look in the rear view mirror and focus on all that you are losing, you’re only seeing this transition through your eyes. Let go of YOUR loss and instead, embrace what THEY will gain … new friends, new experiences, new growth. It’s an exciting time! Don’t allow your own feelings of loss lay guilt on your child in their time to shine.
Also, embrace what YOU will gain. After my daughter was married and my son started college, God had new adventures for me planned as well, and it was way better than I ever dreamed!
Paul reminds us in Philippians:
Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Phil. 3:13-14 (NLT)
The heavenly prize of parenting is an adult who thrives emotionally, socially and spiritually. Each of these life transitions is like a leg of a long distance race. Whether your child is taking tentative baby steps or in a full-on sprint into their new phase of life, let go and experience the joy of the prize with them.
Christa Hutchins is a “doer-of-things” who provides ministry coaching and project management support for speakers, writers and ministry leaders. Her resources provides practical insight into moving your God-sized dream from vision to action. Christa lives in South Louisiana with her husband in their delightfully empty nest, where you usually will find her with her nose stuck in a book or sipping on a triple tall, non-fat peppermint mocha.
Linking with Crystal’s #HeartEncouragement