One of the hardest things about parenting, in my opinion, is being able to constantly love your kids and then let them go. I don’t just mean letting them go when they are grown up and move out. I’m referring to the constant changes you face while they are under your care.
You fall in love with the cute little baby that you bring home from the hospital. Though, just as you start to really know him (or her), he changes and becomes a toddler who is looking for independence and throwing tantrums. As much as you love this toddler, part of you misses the baby he was. Then as you accept this new little person, he becomes a pre-schooler who isn’t with you all the time and doesn’t need to be carried. Though the break from constant parenting is nice, it’s hard to send your constant companion away for those hours. When you create a new routine to fill the gap, suddenly this little one is ready for elementary school. Now, he’s really not a baby anymore. You reminisce about the cute, cuddly days, the days when you were his world. Then you tell yourself, this is better than all the carrying and diaper-changing years were. Now, he has a vibrant personality and talks about all kinds of interesting things. It is amazing to see him think and grow. Though each year, a bit of that innocence and the dependence is disappearing. One day it won’t be cool to hug your parents. Slowly, there are more secret conversations and more that is kept inside. As a parent, you want to know, to protect, to make sure nothing is wrong. But, they are growing up and feel the need to handle some things on their own. You have to learn to let go and pray that it will all work out. You have to put your faith in the upbringing you gave and hope that they will make good choices. You also have to have faith in the love that you gave and hope that they will always love you, even if it may not be cool to constantly say it. You will still look back, however, and sometimes miss that infant, or toddler, or pre-schooler that once graced your life…
I recently attended an 8th grade transition meeting for my son (high school next year!) and that was a strong theme in the principal’s presentation – stepping back and letting your 9th grader go! Letting go will never end. . .
It’s great that they discuss these things at the school because no one warns new parents about this stuff. It can be hard to accept.
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I’m in a tough bind right now and it’s even worse for my wife. My daughter is going off to college at the end of the school year and my son is going to middle school – it’s like they are growing up way too fast.
I try to play the strong I can handle it dad but it irks me, my baby is growing up.
I still have a few years before I’m in your spot but I’m feeling already that they’re growing up too fast!