Thursday, April 19, 2012

Just for Moms: Letting Go.

I was going through some old journals the other day. (You remember when we used to write our thoughts with a pen and paper) Some of the writing was poetry, some story ideas, but mostly it was to and about my children. My oldest is finishing college and mostly not living at home now so it was quite bittersweet when I came across this entry dated summer 1988, he was almost one year old and I was learning a lesson in letting go.

“Yesterday Schuyler was sitting, playing in his room and I was hopping from one task to the other, when I felt him tug on my jeans to get my attention. One of his favorite things to do is to have me hold both of his hands as he tiptoes a silly goose-step walk as far and as long as I will walk with him. I reached down as he grabbed on and away we went down the hallway. I glanced down and saw his chubby stubbornly clenched fists wrapped securely around my fingers. I realized as we marched along that he was barely leaning on me for support to balance himself as he walked. The farther we walked the more he was balancing and stepping on his own, but he would not let go of my hands.
‘Schuy-ler’, I teased,
Big light brown eyes and a bald head mischievously turned to look up at me.
‘You really don’t need me. You can let go and do this by yourself.’ I admonished him in a semi serious tone.
He responded with a babytooth grin and an excited laugh. Then he tightened his grip and walked on.
I tried to pry his fingers from mine but each time I tried he would stop walking, begin to sway and loose that confident strut.
A little frustrated, I tried again,
‘Schuyler, you really can do this. Sometimes Mommys need to let go.’
Suddenly what I said hit me like a ton of bricks. Pride at his obvious ability to achieve his goals and keep trying was battling with a fierce protectiveness which fed my ego saying, See, he still needs you…
But I knew in my heart this truth:
Schuyler 1989
Sometimes Mommys must let go. Even though a child may be unsure of his ability sometimes the best thing a mother can do is let go and say
You can do this without me.
You can do this without me.
You can do this without me.
You can do this without me.
I just want, my sweet boy to know that I felt, in his hands that day, his inner strength and ability to do so much. I saw all the challenges and adventures life would bring to him one day and I knew he would meet them and succeed. He would, by God’s grace, make it just fine without me.”

Wow. You can imagine how those words written 25 years ago challenged me today. Had I been true to letting go? Did I give him the freedom to try to do it on his own? Probably not as much as I should have. If I had it to do over I would certainly step back a little more. It is just so hard as a mom to always know when to save the day and when to let them brush themselves off and get up on their own. I had to begin right there by taking my hand away and letting him learn to walk on his own. Falls and bumps certainly came with the autonomy, but he learned and thrived without me.

Just when you think they don’t need you they are desperately calling for help just one more time. I do remember the times when I let the children struggle to complete a task. 
Finish recopying a paper late into the evening. 
Brushing off the dirt and getting back into the soccer game. 
Struggling with a new song on the piano.
 It was not easy to keep from stepping in and helping, but I knew they would gain so much more from the struggle than from being rescued by mom. It certainly isnt easy to watch them work so hard at something that we could fix so easily. But, I encourage you to love your kids deeply, and remember sometimes Mommys need to let go.

No comments:

Post a Comment