The ice rink had been the scene of so many happy memories for a mom. Taking her daughter by the hand, she attempted to teach her how to soar around the ice. But they banged into each other, tripped each other, and were failing altogether. The daughter shook off the mom’s hand and tried to skate. She fell. The mom rushed to help her up and the daughter pushed her away. The mom told her to hold the guard rail. The daughter refused. On her feet again, in a heap on the ice, on her feet, sprawled on the ice, up again and again. By the time they left a couple hours later, the daughter was bruised and sore, but grinning delightedly. She could ice skate! She had learned how! She loved the freedom of sailing around that rink as much as her mother did.
This is a picture of the process of letting go.
I think the first time I realized I had to ‘let go’ of my baby was when he was safely tucked into his bassinet and I had to ‘let go’ of my watchful guard of him and surrender to sleep. You see, when we sleep, we are no longer in control. We are no longer able to watch and prevent disaster. I knew the risk was small that anything sinister could happen to him, but I had to ‘let go.’
My husband loved to hold our baby boy and toss him lightly in the air and catch him. My heart would stop, then I’d hear both of them giggle. Dad plays with his baby differently from mom. I had to ‘let go,’ or I would rob my husband of the joy of fatherhood and our son of a healthy relationship with his dad.
As our baby learned to roll over and scoot on his tummy, I carefully child-proofed the house. But I could not keep my eyes on him constantly. When I turned my back, he could totally disappear around a corner or roll under the bed skirt. I had to move about my house, out of sight of my baby. I had to ‘let go.’
These were just the beginning of letting go. But I was learning an important lesson. God had given that baby to me. But He didn’t give him to me for me to control. He was given to me to guard and care for. But that baby was God’s child and only God could really take care of him. When I slept, God never slept. When he was out of my sight, he was never out of God’s sight. This didn’t make me careless. It just taught me Who to trust.
There is another lesson about letting go. I was not to raise that boy to be my child all his life. I was to raise him to be a man: an independent, capable, ethical man. I was to raise him to be some young woman’s husband and eventually a father of children of his own.
Doing everything for him would handicap him. I could manage the risks our baby and child took. But the time came when I must allow him to try, and maybe fail. It is important to learn that we all fail sometimes, but we can practice, and we can try again.
The process of letting go was greatly accelerated when he went to school. Other people came into his life. His teachers and classmates. They all had an influence on him. Some good, some not so good. Some treated him well, some not well at all. I had to trust God to teach him through these people. I worked hard at keeping the lines of communication open so that I could help him make sense of his world. But I had to let go.
Clinging to our children really shows a weakness in us. Moms sometimes hold onto their children out of fear. It may be fear that no one else will love and care for our child like we do. It may be fear that when our child leaves, they will forget us and the relationship will be broken. A healthy letting go, leaves room for our grown children to show they love us. Holding on eventually leads to grown children resenting and rejecting their parents.
But this part of letting go is a long way off for you. Just remember, child rearing is not a lifetime job. So begin to let go little by little. Done correctly, you will go from control to influence, from guarding to trusting them to God’s care. You will probably end up with more ‘children.’ As your grown children marry and have their own children, you will have more to love and pray for. You will reap the rewards of letting go.