We’ve had some important family events in recent weeks. Celebrating our youngest son’s 18th birthday with extended family and friends, marching band senior night-our third and final ending a 10-year period of being band parents. Milestones for our family of five to be certain. And even though the focus was on the celebration, my mind often drifted to change.
The two days previous to senior night, I found myself fighting back tears. As Friday approached, I worried about not being able to get through the coming events without uncontrollable crying. Thankfully, I was wrong. But oh, was it exhausting.
I am one who believes in expressing your emotions. Crying in front of others is not uncommon. I also recognize that there are times when those emotions must be pushed to the back burner. This was one of those times. Truly it was a time to celebrate, and I’m happy to say that’s exactly what we did!
The following week it was time for senior pictures and finishing college applications. More changes coming…too soon. Positive changes to be certain, but my emotions rose to the surface once again. That’s when I realized, this process of letting go was starting over. Part of my life as a parent for which there is no handbook, no warning-until it hits me in the face.
As a parent, I’ve experienced this in both big and small ways while watching my children grow. Taking their first steps, climbing up that slide ladder independently, their first day of school. Driving off alone in their car for the first time, going on a first date, and moving off to college. Each time I have to let them go, tiny pieces of my heart go with them.
Today I must put one foot in front of the other, dry my tears, and face the day with hope. Hope because these three I get to call mine are already making a difference in this world. Hope because the people they are becoming causes my heart to overflow, as those missing pieces return.
In order for them to continue flying, I have to continue letting go. That’s how life works. I can either fight against it, holding on for dear life or embrace the truth-life is letting go.