Letting go of our adult children, even in the best of circumstances is bittersweet. We take such joy in their successes and their progress out into the big world, forging their own paths, becoming autonomous beings, hopefully applying at least some of what we have taught them....but we worry. Don't we? Or am I the only one?
My first child to leave my love-filled nest was my son. He is my only man-child. And no matter what anyone says...it is different with a son rather than a daughter. He has always been driven and focused and it was just a natural progression of him leaving eventually. He came back a couple times to stay with us for awhile, but he was always independent, on his own, had his own ideas and had no problem telling me...."Mom, I've made my decision. I'm a grown man." Gasp. What?!
Then I had 3 girls after him. My oldest daughter is who initially prompted me to begin to blog. I had to process the scary things we were going through with her somewhere and this was it. My letting go process with her has been anything but "normal." It has been agonizing, terrifying, heart rending, and has consisted many times of God prying my fingers loose from trying to control the un-controllable-ness in her life. It has also been filled with many many gifts, loads of love, and an ocean of tears.
Then came daughter number 2...my Molly. I have to say that letting go of her has been agonizing, but more because of my fears left over from daughter number 1. (I'm not blamin....I'm just sayin) If the worst I could think up could happen once, then surely my other kids aren't safe either. My poor Moll, has had to fight her way free from me. It has been filled with hurt feelings on both of our sides, me begging her to understand my craziness... and her assuring me that she does, but go she must. These have been very rough relational roads to navigate for the both of us. We will be fine and are finding our way back to our happy place with each other, as I type.....but its not been easy.
It has forced me to look at yet another area of my life that addiction has touched....my expectations for my other children. "Don't get sick, take drugs, drink alcohol, talk back, drive too fast, or do anything that might scare me.... because for God's sake, Ive had all I can take!" Most of which they have done.....because they have to have the freedom to live their own lives and make their own mistakes. Which really makes me mad. I don't want to watch them try things out, wobble around in the early stages of being adults and maybe get hurt. I DON'T WANT TO!
But I have to. They have to find their own ways and who they want to be. Thankfully they all love me and they gently try to step away... "Mom, I have to find my own way." "Mom, I heard you." "Mom, I'm not answering you right now because I'm frustrated." "MOM! LET GO!"
Its hard. Its so hard. But its also so necessary. When I can let them go, they come back because they want to. Not because I've held them prisoner or scared the shit out of them that the world is a dangerous place....even though sometimes I secretly think it is! When I am living in a place of trust, of open hands, of letting people and things come and go in my life as they are meant to....there is a flow that feels right. Its when I clamp down, clench my fists, dig in my heels, that everything begins to crash into each other and get bogged down and backed up and no one and nothing is flowing the way they were meant to...and its because *I* with all of my good intentions (and crazy fears,) got in the way of the process.
The simple bottom line is that God's in charge. Of it all. And I'm not.
I suppose that's for the best. (Well, most of the time I believe that...unless I get a REALLY good idea. Then I try to convince Him that I have a contribution that He should listen to.) And like my children, He patiently listens and then says, "Not this time my sweet girl." And just like that, Im back to letting go and trusting.
I didn't mention Little One.....she is only 14, and a lot of this doesn't apply to her yet. She doesn't branch out very far yet. She asks permission for everything, if we say no, she says, "ok." And then I worry that she's not forceful enough! They truly just can't win. LOL
Recently I applied some mom guilt about cleaning the cat box.....she said, "I'm not taking the bait mom. Just ask for what you want." LOL... She's on to me!