There are so many blog posts, books, and articles about parenting. Don't worry if you are a fan of attachment parenting style, this is not a counter argument to that. This is a post about something I do not see often enough.... how to let your kids grow up and go. I write this mid stream in this process. I write this on the day that my baby attends his first day of high school. My children are 20 and 14, I'm no longer trying to figure out if they should still be sleeping in my room or not, that would be weird. I am letting my role shift.
I remember when my oldest was first born. For the first six weeks of his life I was paralyzed with fear. I felt this heaviness that said it was my job that he turn out okay. If I'm honest, at the time I was very religious, and my thought was that it was my job that he make it to heaven. Keep in mind, I also thought that heaven was reserved for the perfect. You see the rabbit hole I was in? Thankfully, I decided when he was six weeks old to let go of some of that but much remained. I am not going to get deep into the way I parented my young children but I will say that although I did not necessarily subscribe to attachment parenting in the way it is defined today, I was hyper attached to the outcome of my children. My second child was born with hearing loss and this only exacerbated my emotional fixation on raising children that were beyond good. I wanted them to change the world. To do all the things. To fix me.
Fast forward about 10 years or so and this mama discovered yoga. It took a while for me to wrap my mind around the deeper understandings of yoga, mostly because I was so religiously conditioned and afraid that it would lead me away from Jesus (it didn't). Eventually things began to click for me. Letting go is a mantra I constantly return to. As I practice. As I live.
The result of letting go, or detachment, as a parent is me holding my children loosely. It's recognizing that detachment is not loving less, it is loving so deeply that I am willing to let them discover who they truly are without having to condition that discovery with pleasing me. It is trusting that loving unconditionally is the only way to model any kind of faith worth having. It is not needing to have one ounce of control over my grown child and knowing that my 14 year old still needs a lot of guidance but my job is to help him become fully himself and know that whatever that looks like he is totally loved.
This is hard work. My children own my heart but they are not my life. I was given an opportunity to raise and nurture them for a while. The future for me, for all of us if we choose it, is to live lives filled with passion and purpose. My children will be a part of that but they no longer consume every drop of my energy. I no longer feel like it is my job that they are good citizens, it's theirs. They are both brilliant and know exactly what their mom believes but no longer because I force feed them my ideologies, doctrines, or values but because we live in communication that is not afraid of disagreement. We talk about everything. I guess my children will have to speak for themselves and maybe one day they will guest blog for me, but I think we are finally to a point where we don't have to agree. I'm okay with that. It's actually beautiful to be a part of. I would rather be with my children than anyone in the world (besides my husband) but I don't have to be. I can let them find their own way. I can stay silent when they haven't asked for my input. I can simply love with a loose grip and a full heart.