It was the first day of school for my children and many others. Off went 2 of my 3 children to a full day of school. For the first time in years I would have some space for me!! As I basked in the permeating quietude of the moment, my eyes rested upon a glass coffee table stamped with my children’s finger prints from the night before. Habit called me to reach for the windex. As I did so I was stopped in my tracks by a welling up of sadness. I suddenly did not wish to erase the hand marks upon the table. I chose instead to take a breath and honor this moment of sadness as one in the long process of freeing up our children. While sending them off to school I was so focused on my own freedom that I overlooked how their freedom would impact me. I sat down and allowed the tears to flow through me before I wiped the table clean, clearing the space for whatever may come.
From the day they come to us our children are growing in our care. They cannot do very much at first, relying on us completely. Not before long…here come their firsts. First bath, first smile, first babble, then word, then crawl, walk, friend etc…They are forever reaching milestones in their growth, as we are. As we witness and guide them on their climb, we must wait in the wings until they need us next, giving them space to become who they are. We do it more and more as they “need” us less and less. It is my hope that in allowing them that space they will eventually “want” us in their lives. I have often been advised by older and wiser parents that I should enjoy my children’s young years because, “before you know it, they are all grown.” I see the sadness in their eyes as they say those words. I do not want to be hit with that sadness all at once as I suddenly find myself helping them move into their dorm room. We must honor the letting go part so as to make room for the new. If we fall into the trap of denying this process of change, we can risk not honoring their cycle and our own cycle. Everything has it’s season, including human beings. Acknowledging this means opening yourself up to new possibilities. As your children grow, pockets of time open up for you to explore different aspects of yourself. Walk through those doors and venture into that territory. It could bring you much joy.
There is a fine line between stepping in when you are needed and overstepping as a parent. Where is that line for you? When you honor the letting go and allow the sadness to guide you to a new phase you will have a better picture of what that line looks like. In doing so, we are better able to reorient to the changing roles we have in their lives as time passes. We are also better prepared to allow new and different possibilities to show up in our own lives. They will always be our children. The love we share will never fall away, only grow.
Sit down with pen and paper. Reflect upon how your children (child) have grown over the past year. Write down answers to these questions:
Is there any part of your role in their life that needs to be changed?
Are there new responsibilities that they are able to take on now?
If yes, honor this and how it makes you feel. Allow yourself to feel and express these emotions. Think about how you may want to implement these changes. Allow yourself the space to explore what new opportunities come up for you.
Sending you much love in this process!!