With my youngest turning 1 years old soon, I can’t help but feel a tugging. I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster. I look back at the year, and I’ve learned so much yet again about being a mom and about life as a mom.
I find myself in a constant battle of holding on, not wanting to let go just yet. It applies to all areas of my life, not just my life as mom. There’s so many things I maybe shouldn’t be holding onto, that I should have let go of years ago. I give myself gentle pushes, and at other times a forceful shove is needed.
Everything in this world is fleeting. It can be here one day and gone the next. Life is short, and while I want to capture every moment and I don’t want some moments to ever end, I am reminded that I needed to hold on tight, but not to tightly.
As a parent this holds true in every aspect of our lives. Our children grow up, and as much as we want moments to last, they can’t. It’s part of growing up, this slowly letting go, giving more independence to our children. I watch my daughter grow more and more independent, and at times I welcome it, while at other times, I pray she won’t grow so fast. I watch my son meet new milestones almost daily, and I find myself wishing time would stop. Wishing I could hold on forever.
I held on tightly when I took them home from the hospital, never wanting to put them down. Slowly I loosened my hold, and they needed me less and less. In this world we have fleeting moments. Life moves fast, and if we aren’t careful we’ll miss it. At the same time, we can force moments to last longer than they should, because we don’t want to let go. We think we can hold on tightly forever. We hate not feeling needed or wanted.
I’ve come to the realization that it’s not that my children don’t need me or want me less, but that they need more independence to grow and to be challenged. To find their identity, their destiny. They need my influence, my direction, my love and my affection, but they also need me to step back at times, to hold on tightly, but not to tight.
It’s a beautiful process to watch as your children change and grow. Your child’s first steps. You hold on and hold on, helping them, supporting them, until one day they are ready to take those first steps without your physical support. You gently let go, and they begin their first steps in a more independent life. Your physical support may have left, but you still offer encouragement, cheering them on and helping them back up when they fall. You hold on tight until it’s ready to let go….hold on tightly, but not to tight.
The first time on a bike without pedals. Your arms there for support to help them balance. Your words guiding them and instructing them. Your hands ready to catch them if they fall. You hold on tightly, until one day you let go and they take sail, taking with them your coaching and encouraging words. They feel accomplished and excited for mastering a new skill and challenge. Your lesson and encouragement part of the process…..hold on tightly, but not to tight.
Soon it’s time for kindergarten. A new school, new friends, and a full day without you. You dress them for school, pack a lunch and help with their backpack. You walk them to their classroom, holding on tightly. Each step brings you closer to tears and you don’t want to let go.”Not just yet, maybe just one more year.” A new chapter is starting in your child’s book. One last hug, a tug on your heart, and it’s time to go….hold on tightly, but not to tight.
Graduation day nears. The cap and gown, acceptance letters and an empty bedroom. More independence gained as they settle into their dorm room. The unpacking, the last minute items to help them get started on yet another journey. They spread their wings and leave the nest, as you loosen your grip yet again…..hold on tightly, but not to tight.
The new job comes, a new apartment and a new state. A wedding day draws near. You calm their nerves and you sit and listen to all their fears. You hold onto the memories, the moments that helped shape your child. Those moments that led to this one. You want to hold tighter, never letting go. “How can it be? One day you were just a baby and I was holding your for the first time.” Your baby is all grown up, ready to start a family of their own, begin yet another chapter…..hold on tightly, but not to tight.
As much as we wish we could slow time, it won’t ever happen. I’ve decided to stop trying to wish time to stop, trying to hold on to long. Instead, I have decided to hold on tightly, but not to tight. To take every moment I can, but to keep moving and growing as my child does, so I don’t miss another moment. To capture those moments I can and to hold long enough to form the memories I need for each passing year.
As time passes, we grow and we change. It’s always been this way and it’s not easy to give more and more freedom away to those we love. As we loosen our hold, we build trust and relationship. We build an independence and character. As much as I want to go back, to hold my little one again as a baby, I also want to watch them grow, watch them build, watch them use their talents and gifts, watch them be kingdom builders and shakers, world changers. I want to hold on tightly, but not to tight……
Until Next Time Be Whole and Be Fit