It’s a push me/pull you, this mothering thing. Holding tight and at the same time, letting go. It’s a long, long journey of catch and release.
We have these tiny, soft, helpless babies, and we vow to hold them close, keep them safe, and never let the world and all it’s fear and worry and heartache get too close. We become mama-fierce, like protective she-lions, ready to take down any who try to harm.
And all along, we approve each move toward independence. “She lifted her head!” “He rolled over!” “She sat up!” “Look at him walking-what a big boy!” They grow more independent and each day, each year, we teach them how to do it themselves. We remind her, “You’re a big girl now.” And we hug and hold them close before they ride the school bus the first time as we wipe away our mama-tears. We let them ride. We let them grow.
The seasons and years spin fast and we keep letting go. Letting them do it alone. Letting them make mistakes. Letting them fall and letting them fail. Our hearts want to protect and shield but if we hold too tight, we’ll stunt their growth and hold them back. We’ll over-protect and smother their dreams.
If we’re doing it right, we’re raising them to leave. We’re training them to live on their own, cheering them on from the sidelines when they go. And that’s the hardest part.
Because they do go. Because mothering is a journey of letting go.
Mothering is a holy release made possible only by holding tight to the One that’s tightly holding you.
And you cry and worry and pray as you realize that parenting is only a part of your journey, it’s not your whole life.
As they make their lives, they will like different things. They used to like everything you liked. And they wanted to be just like you. But now, off they go and they’re different and their tastes and likes, wants and worries are different. And that’s okay but it’s weird and takes some getting used to. “She used to think this was so cool.” “He used to love doing this.” “Who is this kid???” You used to be the loudest voice in their head and it’s disconcerting when you no longer are.
But, I’ve learned if we are doing it right, we raise to release. We love them to let them go. We let them be who they were created to be.
We send them out into the world and marvel and applaud as they find their way and discover their lives and purpose. We will always be their foundation and they start there but they’ll become so much more as our ceiling becomes their floor.