“Bye! Have fun!” I yelled with my happiest smile plastered on my face. “I’ll be back in a few hours to pick you up. Love you bunches!”
Hannah looked back briefly to wave but quickly turned her attention to her friends in the car, on their way out to eat for her friend’s birthday party. No big deal for most parents maybe but a HUGE one for me.
This was the first birthday party I hadn’t ALSO been invited to…the gall! And she would also be riding in a car, in the rain, without me in the driver’s seat.
I almost cancelled a few hours before the big event.
But I held tight…called my mom of course…and realized I had to let her go.
In every sense…
Because this was a small thing in a grand scheme. And I knew it. But it still felt huge. Kind of like when your baby starts to roll over after being a lump of coal for a couple months. And you know it’s a good thing she’s learned this new skill but with it comes a lot more safety precautions…no more laying her on the bed and walking away…and a loss of the time that was.
And before you know it, your little girl is off to Kindergarten and you realized that no one…not one single person…asked if this was okay by you and if you were ready or if you kinda wanted to wait until she was at least 10 to start kindergarten. Because you’re just not ready to let her go.
Not ready to let go of her being with you all day. Of taking care of opening her applesauce at lunch. Of making sure she went potty at all the right times.
You’re not ready…who the heck cares if she is. Because you’re not ready for her to not be your baby. A little helpless. Completely dependent on you.
Because as exhausting as this job of motherhood is, you know it’s the best gig you could have ever dreamed of landing and you’re always a little nervous you might be let go.
And every step she takes away from you seems like a little bit more of that pink slip gets revealed.
Because the real problem we as moms have with letting go is not just letting go of our kids literally but figuratively. As in letting go of what we used to have but all too soon becomes just a memory…
Some days I cringe because I can barely remember what it was like carrying on a conversation with a child who couldn’t talk. Though I did it for years…but eventually the words came and then complete thoughts and then complete sentences. And now, I can’t even remember how we communicated before that transpired.
How could I have forgotten 2 whole years of my life? Of her life? How is that even possible?
And in a couple years, I’ll probably have forgotten how I filled my days with hopscotch and barbies and dollhouses while juggling cleaning, cooking and the occasional shower.
Because those days will be gone…I will have had to let them go…along with my babies at that age…despite all my gallant efforts to hold on.
And each new day that passes brings more things I have to let go…solo birthday parties, school, sleepovers, dates, college, and on and on.
And I know this is the course of life…of being a mom…of raising independent children.
But it doesn’t take away the sting of sadness or the feeling of loss I have each time my girls gain a little more independence.
It’s strange that their gains equal my loss. But I guess that’s how it is.
And I know I must let it happen…that to be a good mom, a better mom, I need to let them go.
And so I will…as if I really ever had any choice in the matter. But I’ll do it with a smile on my face and a constant reminder that I’m always here for them. Home waiting when they need me.
And that smile will stay…at least until they are out of my sight. But as the tear drops fall, I’ll remind myself that today was our day…and tomorrow the same.
And if I have to let go of yesterday, at least I get tomorrow with them.
If you have missed any in the series 31 Days & 31 Ways To Be A Better Mom, catch up here:
INTRO TO SERIES:
DAY 1: OUR BEFORE SCHOOL RULE
DAY 2: UNPLUG AND PLUG IN
DAY 3: STEP AWAY FROM YOUR CHILD
DAY 4: EMBRACE YOUR CRAZY
DAY 5: BE A REBEL
DAY 6: DO AS I SAY
DAY 7: FIND YOUR VILLAGE
DAY 8: DIVIDE & CONQUER
DAY 9: ONE SMART COOKIE
DAY 11: STOP COMPARING YOUR CHILD
DAY 12: TAKE CARE OF #1
DAY 13: DATE YOUR CHILD
DAY 17: PUT YOURSELF IN THEIR SHOES
DAY 18: QUIT BEATING YOURSELF UP
DAY 22: FAMILY DINNER SHMINNER
DAY 23: REBELLION IS A CRAZY THING
DAY 24: TELL THEM IT WILL GET BETTER
DAY 26: IT’S OKAY TO WISH TODAY WAS OVER
DAY 27: BE A GOOD DAUGHTER
DAY 28: QUIT TRYING TO BE THAT OTHER MOM
DAY 29: YOU CAN’T BUY THEIR HAPPINESS
DAY 30: TELL YOUR KIDS YOU ARE A FAILURE
DAY 31: LEARNING TO LET GO