It was Sunday morning, and Marc and I were at church with Baby R. On a whim, I suggested we take her to the nursery as the worship service was coming to a close. I thought I could finally enjoy a service without having to keep her busy or breast feed her. She was fed, diaper changed and as happy as she could be given she was teething.
This was the first time taking R to the nursery. The first time letting strangers watch her. She was only a 5 second run away if anything were to happen. I checked her in, gave some quick instructions and returned to service nervous inside. It was my first time letting go and I don’t know if I liked it.
Letting go can be hard. We all talk about how we can’t wait until our kids are old enough to do this or that, from school, to riding a bike, to the nursery at church, to their first fun run, to their first time on the monkey bars. Whatever it may be. But when it comes time to actually let go, give up our control, we almost change our minds. It’s hard for us as parents to let go.
I said it over and over gain, “I can’t wait until R is old enough for the nursery so I can finally enjoy church again and actually listen to the sermon.” That day came yesterday, and in all honesty, I hated it. My mom asked how she did, and I said fine. I was never paged to come get her, but secretly I kind of hoped she would cry so I would have to to get her. It wasn’t even an hour, but yet it was so hard for me.
I didn’t enjoy the sermon, I got most of if, but my mind was elsewhere. I couldn’t completely just let go. Maybe it’s because secretly I didn’t want to give up control. I wasn’t ready for her to take her first step in independence, not quite yet. I was a little hurt she didn’t want mom and was all smiles when I went to get her.
It’s very similar to our running, and life in general. There’s things we can’t control and we have to learn to let go of. We let go of fear when we signed up for our first 5k, 10k, half marathon, marathon or ultramarathon. We let go of any insecurities we may have had and we took the plunge. In the same way I had to let go of control and let someone else take the reins.
Even though we train and prepare ourselves for race day, we can’t control all aspects of the race. We can’t control the weather, the course, the unexpected potty breaks or cramps. Things just happen. It’s outside our control. But we don’t pass up a race because of what we can’t control, not when we just let go. We toe the line with high expectations of ourselves and we go for it.
I realized I need to use this same mentality with my child and future children. I need to help them grow and follow their dreams, and by doing so I need to let them go. If I don’t, they can’t grow. They won’t gain their independence. They won’t know they are capable of so much more; that they can survive without mom. They need to know we believe they can do it.
If we hold onto fear we end up passing up on our dreams. We end up not running our first marathon or 10k even though we have always wanted to, because of fear and control. If we don’t let ourselves go, we can’t excel and move forward. As we let go of fear, we began to do things we may have never thought we could. We take a risk. We may fail, but even in our failures we learn and grow in strength.
When we let go we grow. We learn. We learn to spread our wings. We stop trying to control everything. It’s to exhausting anyways.
Sunday was my first lesson and test in letting go of my kids when it’s time. Sometimes we make excuses and say they aren’t ready, but really the parents aren’t ready. We just want to hold on a little longer and a little tighter. We have to many fears. But just as we hold our own selves back due to fears, insecurities, pain, when we hold our kids back we aren’t helping we are hurting them.
It’s okay if they fail. R could have hated the nursery and cried (like I secretly hoped), but it still would have been helpful for her growth. It starts the first step in the long journey of letting go. Letting our kids spread their own wings and take flight. Because as they age it only gets harder. From their first day of preschool to their last day of high school, to their first day at college to their last day as your little girl/boy before they say “I do.” Letting go never gets easier, at least it won’t for me, but we get stronger every time we do.
Until Next Time Be Whole and Be Fit
What do you need to let go of? Was it hard for you to let go of your kids at certain milestones? What’s hard for you to let go?