Monday, January 14, 2013

Letting Them Spread Their Wings

Time passes and children grow.  It is inevitable.  As parents, we often view this process with sadness and say things like "She's growing up so fast!" or "Where has the time gone?"  

I would argue that, although the end of certain stages is sometimes sad, it can also be very exciting.  I mean who could have ever known that this little baby

would turn into this beautiful, intelligent, stubborn, creative, amazing young lady?!?!?!

It's really pretty amazing when you think about it and, even though it is certainly a little sad, it is a transformation I have enjoyed watching.  I could definitely say the same about her sisters, too.  I can't wait to see where their lives take them - what careers they choose, who they marry, what kind of mothers they will be.

The scary part, though, is that as they grow, we have to let go.  We get a little taste of this when we drop them off for their first day of school or for their first sleepover at a friend's house.  This week, I'll get a bigger taste of it as I send that girl up there in that picture off for her first big trip - without me (or any other adult that I know and trust) for five days.

You see, her intelligence, her good character, and her overall charisma have earned her the opportunity to participate in a People to People Leadership Ambassador Program.  (You can read more about People to People here.)  While she is gone, she will certainly be well supervised, but there will be nobody there to remind her to brush her teeth, or to help her find vegetarian options on the menu, or to comfort her if she gets a little scared at night.

She, however, is not thinking about those things.  She is excited - sooooo excited.  She is excited to meet new people, see new things, and to be independent for a little while.  I am also truly excited for her.  And scared.  And nervous.  And proud - so incredibly proud!

She will learn so much during her time away.  She will make new friends and have wonderful experiences.  Perhaps, she will even come back with a little greater appreciation for her family and a little more maturity.  In my head, I know she will be fine.

In my heart, though, it is not that simple.

Letting them spread their wings is hard.

In the end, I'll do what most parents do (and what I know my parents did many times).  I'll smile to hide my fears.  I'll give her a hug that's just a little tighter than usual.  I'll tell her I love her and I'm proud of her.  I'll say "I love you" one more time.  Then, I'll watch as she spreads her wings and gets her first real taste of "freedom."  As I walk away, I'll pray that we've taught her well.  I'll pray for her health and safety.  I'll pray that she has fun and learns a lot.  I'll pray that she truly knows how much she is loved and that that knowledge will be enough to lift her up when/if she needs a boost.

(I'm pretty certain that I will also have flashbacks to my parents leaving me at college and gain a whole new level of appreciation for what they must have been feeling.  I am very certain as well that I will be immensely grateful for my good friend who has offered to be my travel companion.  She, too, has three daughters just slightly younger than mine and will not laugh if I shed a tear or two because she knows she will likely walk this path as well all too soon.) 


Mothering from Scratch said...

{Melinda} I can so relate to this ... in fact, I wrote about the same subject on my blog this week. Letting go is hard, but it's beautiful, too, as we see our kids blossom and do things they never thought they could.

Visiting from the Mommifried FB link up! :)

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

One of the hardest parts of Motherhood, isn't it?!?! Thanks for stopping by! Come again soon! :-)

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