Wednesday, February 5, 2014

How do You Let Them Go?

I started working on Averi's five year photo album. As I'm pulling all these pictures of her from the last year to put into the book, I keep catching myself smiling or laughing and even holding back a few tears of joy. Five! Five years old! How did this happen? One minute it seems like she was just born yesterday and another it seems like she's been a part of us forever.

As any parent knows once they're in our life, we can't imagine it being any different. To be their mother or their father is really such a gift and even though birthdays are for them sometimes it's about us, their moms or their dads. It marks the day we were entrusted to nuture and raise them in this sometimes crazy world we live in. No matter what mischief she's been up to lately, those big brown eyes, gentle heart, and smile remind us every day we are so incredibly blessed that we get to call her ours.

I kept saying five might hit me kind of harder than the other birthdays. We will enroll her in kindergarten shortly after her fifth birthday. She will always be ours but each day she grows up a little more. She gets a little more independent and self sufficient each day, which in some ways is great, but with each birthday she's closer to who she'll become. Each birthday brings her closer to the one where she will look at us and head out to make her own way in this world.

As the old saying goes, we only hold their hands for a little while, and I'm seeing now it's so much harder to let go as the parent than it was as the child ready to seek her independence. I remember wanting to tell my parents to let me go, let me make my own path. I didn't understand the resistance. I was just a young kid, thinking I was grown, and it shouldn't be so hard for them to understand and let me go. Oh, but I understand now. I love watching her grow and seeing who she's becoming but this time is so fleeting.  Five years has been such a quick flash in time. Before I know it she'll be fifteen and not too long after that eighteen and think she's ready to take on the world.

Why is childhood so short? Why can't we spend more of our lifetime lost in the innocence of childhood? As children ourselves we're in such a hurry to grow up, and now as a parent I wish it would all just slow down. I don't mind holding their hands a little longer.

I have years and years to go until mine are ready to leave the nest. I'm sure I won't handle it well but here is a poem I wrote over ten years ago when I left my reluctant parents. I wonder in just another ten years or so from now how different the one I will write will be as the parent rather than the child.

Let Me Go
I know you've always feared this day
When I'd be grown and going my own way
I'm ready to strike out on my own
To try something I've never known
Please, Mom, don't cry, don't be sad
Dad, I'd never disappoint you, please, don't be mad
I know how much you care
Your love by far is rare
I know you'll always be there if I happen to fall
If I need you, I'll be sure to call
You've taught me right from wrong
You've taught me how to stand strong
You've always been my guide, my light
I just don't want to go in a fight
I will always be your strong willed daughter
whether I succeed or falter
I hope you'll always be there
For that is my biggest fear
I love you with all my heart
And all the miles could never keep us apart

My sweet baby girl

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  1. Angela, I always enjoy visiting and reading your posts. So heartfelt, and beautifully written. Great post. :)

  2. You are SO lucky to have parents who wanted to hold your hand a little longer, and, like them, you'll know when you need to let them go a little bit more each year. It was recently the official signing day for high school senior who will play collegiate sports. My son sat at the table in his coat and tie and donned his new hat--displaying the college he will be attending in mere months. How do you let them go? You just do, because it's what's best for THEM.

  3. My youngest will be 5 this May. I can hardly believe it -- they grow up way too fast for a mother's heart.

  4. I so identify with this. Letting go is so hard. My daughter has grown up too quick too. Thanks for sharing.

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