Still Letting Go

I surprised myself.  I thought I was ready.  I had prayed for years and years for this very thing.  And then when it happened, I wasn’t ready.  My emotions were conflicted.  I do not enjoy being emotional.

I thought I had “let her go” long ago.  She went far away to college for three years and then she returned.  She moved out of our house and then we moved away.  She is a fully independent adult.  Yet, I realized there was one more way in which I had to “let her go”.

little-dOur only daughter has found a wonderful man who cherishes her and they are planning to marry.   Why was I feeling sad?  He is a fine man.  They love each other.  I struggled with these feelings for several weeks, even as we went bridal dress shopping and began talking about wedding plans.  These are exciting plans and I am thrilled to be involved.  Yet, the sadness persists.

She is not our only child.  No, we also have four sons.  Three of them have been married for more than ten years.   They have given us three amazing daughters-in-law and twelve wonderful grandchildren.   I have been through weddings, young marriages, and in-laws before.  This is not a new experience.

BUT, I have never experienced this with my daughter. Until now.  I realized there would be more changes. Changes we make ourselves are easier to handle than changes made by others, which affect us. I realized my sadness is selfish.  I have to share her.  She will have less time for me and for us, her parents.  I am not just sharing her with her future husband but am also sharing her with his family.  Holidays and birthdays will be divided between two families.D and D

I am whining and being a bit ridiculous.  But the feelings are still my feelings.

I also know that I will adjust and be okay. Talking (and writing) about this is helping me. I have told countless parents that they will be okay when their adult child makes a life transition and so will the child.  This is still true. So I am trying to apply my own advice.  I can adjust to changes.

I am thankful for the close relationship I have with my daughter.  We have had some wonderful adventures together. New adventures await us.  Onward we go with the wedding plans.

P.S. Yes, she will read this because she is my writing editor.

at lunch

Editor’s Note: From my perspective, you have been nothing but excited and supportive. Thank you. Thank you for feeling the saddness, and yet choosing to making room for new. Thank you for loving my fiancé. Thank you for graciously coming along side without taking over as plans come together for the wedding. However, no matter what you do, never let me go! Not really.  I’m 31 years old and I need you and Dad in my life. Circumstances change, and priorities shift, but our relationship will always be important to me. I love you, Ma!

How Long?

Parenting.  When does it begin and when does it end?  Does it begin at birth?  Does it begin with conception?    Does it end at a specific age?   Is it the same age for all?

I think parenting begins as soon as you begin to make decisions based on the well-being of your unborn child.  A decision to abstain from smoking or alcohol for the health of your child is a parenting decision made months before birth.  Parenting involves much self-sacrifice.  These sacrifices may be as simple as choosing not to watch certain movies or shows in your child’s presence.  Or they may be as challenging as making the one thousand decisions per day regarding care, nurture, discipline, meals, snacks, nutrition, recreation, relationships, scheduling, health, education, babysitters, clothing, baby equipment and furniture, naps, . . . . .  this list never ends.

little-boy

The truth is, parenting is in a constant state of change.  The children are growing, aging, and gaining new skills and abilities all the time. Just as we figure out how to handle or resolve one issue, new issues arise.  Of course, we want, our children to grow and develop. Therefore our parenting must continually grow and develop.

Some day we may think, “Ah, they are all grown up.”   This does not mean our parenting is done.  This truly means we are entering a new phase of parenting.   It is called Parenting Adult Children.  It is very different from parenting babies, toddlers, school-age children or teenagers, and each of those is unique too.

The following quote is from an elderly man who recently has passed away.

“You are not done with your kids till you die.”    D.Curry

I liked his words as they express the idea that parenting does not end.   It does change.  Therefore we must change.  And it conveys the message that parenting is highly relational.  Parenting is not just an eighteen year commitment.  It is a life-long relationship.

Our adult children need us in new ways.  They need us to be supportive cheerleaders.  They may need us to be a listening ear and sometimes might even ask for advice.  They need us to be an unconditionally-loving friend.  They need us to be prayer warriors for them.  They need us to let them go and allow them to be independent.