One day they’re born.
And you feel like you have forever. Their little body fits into your lap, their hand tucked in yours, their head nestles into your shoulder. So small, so simple, so sweet. The years seem so many, the moments endless. Eighteen years feels forever.
Yet, they grow.
Time moves and ebbs and flows and things change and in it all even though time at moments seems to stand still – there it goes – moving.
They start out needing us so much. Feeding them and clothing them. Picking them up and helping with homework and dropping them off and teaching them to tie shoes or parallel park or how to multiply.
Sometimes the change is subtle and sometimes it’s crazy. A shift here, some bravery there, and in it all they don’t stay small.
We go to sleep listening for them. For a cough, the door to open, for that whisper of “mom are you awake?” when we clearly weren’t.
They stop needing to hold your hand across the street and find friends and do daring things and read and grow up. The clothes are donated, the play food let go, the training wheels discarded, the new freedoms of growing up gained.
And they grow and grow and grow. The limits morph and you stay up late again, not pacing the floor helping them get to sleep, but pacing the floor waiting for them to come home.
Your heart has grown big and ached and been broken and been proud and has this love that was once unimaginable.
And then one day, they close the door and it is the last time. The last time home with you in it is, well, home. Tears fall – joy and sadness and celebration and “where in the world did time go?”
That little one who fit in your arms so tightly now is walking out, walking away, growing up.
On their own.
Oh don’t get me wrong – It will always be home. You are home for them. But it’s not the same. Maybe we don’t talk about that space – that growing up, letting go space – when our homes, instead of becoming noisier, become the opposite.
In life there is that moment, that gut-wrenching place of motherhood that is both bittersweet and joyful when that little one you raised leaves.
It is a fierce bravery to let them go. It’s where we tuck back the tears and shout, “Way to go! You can do it!” But inside, sometimes we are whispering to ourselves the same thing.
You can do it.
You can love and give and in it all let them go.
We all want it. We want them to be successful, to have a voice, to find love, to pursue their dreams. Childhood is this place of pushing them to be more and speak up and live.
Letting go is the deepest love of all.
We don’t cling so tightly because we want them to fly.
And in that flying, that letting go, we become the hero. We look back and see all the bandages placed and late nights and slammed doors and giving and loving and the courage it took to say, “fly, sweet child, fly.”
The mom always learning to let go.
Holding her once little one in her arms.
Love this! As I just dropped my oldest off for second semester, this hits home. The letting go is so bittersweet and hard. But watching them fly…priceless. XO
Rachel I’m the mom of four military officers and the author of Be Safe, Love Mom: A Military Mom’s Stories of Courage, Comfort, and Surviving Life on the Home Front. Coping with letting go when our children head into harms way is tough. I support a lot of military mommas on my website and Facebook.page. I recently shared this post and the one you wrote on Tomorrow since they both spoke to issues we mom’s deal with. Thank you for your wisdom in words.
I think this is one of the realist n most dreaded idea all mothers have to face … that our lil entity is an individual n is on his own . Soon my days will also come when i ll hv to bid my son bye as he gears up for college life … hope he had the most enjoyable life waiting for him and he gains the worldly ways as he climbs up the ladder his way . Love lots . And more power to your pen
We get that “one” shot at it, raising our little people to become what we hope pray and strive for, good, kind, empathetic adults who know Jesus Christ. We had a tough time of it but I can honestly say my kids are good loving kind empathetic and know their Saviour. We are not perfect and how I would love to be able to redo so much, but love, the “love” broke thru those layers of tough times. And Love Is Above All Of These. I read thru this with tears in my eyes as I know others have, mothers are kindred spirits.
Very touching and so true. But now I’m a grandmother of 2 boys belonging to my son. I pray I live to see these 2 boys grow up to be adult men. My son is a wonderful father and his 6 yr old and 2 yr can not get enough of their Dad. It is so sweet to see my 39 yr old son and his two sons love each other with such joy. His wife is a WONDERFUL MOTHER TOO. Just want my blessings to last another two decades.
when your kids grow up and leave home for the outside world , comes sadness for us but with love and togetherness and belief in God comes the day when they have gown to wonderful adults. and with Gods blessing they will find someone whom they will love and be loved back. Then the best is yet to come the arrival of grandchildren and if lucky enough greatgrandchildren …with Love and prayers all will turn out the best of life for all………………………………
Yes, this. <3
Do you have inspired moments for grandparents?
I have learned a lot here
Even after they go you still watch them. Your heart still rises with their joys and saddens with their trials. We our overjoyed with the grandchildren and feel the same joys through them. Children are a wonderful gift. There can be trials of fire with this gift, but we are all someones baby trying to find our way.
I am a mother to 5 sons. I have wonderful boys and always felt we had a close family while the children were growing up. They grew to young men and serve church missions and gradually they married. My eldest have their own children now and my grandchildren bring me such joy.
Sadlt our third son who i was very close to married and has cut himself off from all our family and his friends. Its been the most heart renching 6 years for this mom. Not I day goes by I dont hope he will call and say he wants to connect. I send an email to him monthly with no reply. We have no address but his work address . My husband got permission from his employer to call him at work but he hung up before saying hello. We cried again. I hope with time his wife and him will bring us back into their lives.
My two youngest sons are happy and one is married and one is in a relationship .
We always try to have happy family time but we are all very aware that someone is missing. Some are angry, others confused at. I try to remain hopeful.