In every parent’s life, there comes a time when we must let go of our children and allow them to become independent. A few weeks ago, I was faced with this sudden reality when I wasn’t allowed to share in my daughter’s birthday party at school. In previous years, I had been allowed to join her classmates as they ate cake and ice cream and sang “Happy Birthday”. I took way too many pictures and enjoyed celebrating another milestone in her life. This year was different, and I was forced to reflect on my feelings of allowing her to grow up. The day is coming much too quickly when I will have to let go of her hand and push her out of my comforting nest. Of course I will still be there as her loving and nurturing mother, guiding her from a distance, but things will be different.
Unfortunately, in our society, this challenge of letting go is not accepted by some parents. They become “helicopter parents” always making choices for their children, covering up their wrongs, being their best friends and being overly protective. There is a struggle to hold on to the baby we birthed however many years ago and releasing that baby to experience life on his/her own terms. If we don’t release them, (with care and caution), they will grow up to be dysfunctional adults unable to make decisions, selfish and someone others do not want to be around. We will do our children a favor by learning to let go and trust God that the values, instructions and training we have poured into them will be evident in their actions. We must guide from a distance, love unconditionally and be there when they fall.
Have I mastered this skill of letting go? No, but I am working on it. I know it will make for a strong, independent child and later an adult who can handle life’s storms and rise above them, not because mommy was calling the shots but because she experiences life free from the puppet strings of an adult who hasn’t let go.
~Coletta Jones Patterson