Jun 2, 2008

The hardest part is letting go . . . and my oldest is only three!

I don't know how I'm going to make it through to my kids' adulthood when I'm already having trouble letting go. The first incident happened when we were out this weekend. Tyler tripped and bit into his bottom lip, resulting in a little bit of bleeding. He cried for a few minutes, and then was his usual cheery self. I, on the other hand, found myself reluctant to put him down. As I fought the urge to resist his efforts to climb out of my arms, I thought to myself, It's not as if I can keep him from walking for the rest of his life! But for a brief moment there, I was tempted.

The second incident happened today at Alex's preschool, when I overheard another boy telling him he was a baby and Alex objected that he wasn't. I had to stifle the impulse to tell the other boy in no uncertain terms not to call my son a baby. By the time I had finished what I was doing and walked over to Alex, the conversation had moved on.

There is nothing I can do to stop my sons from growing up. Nor do I want to. My greatest desire for them is that they grow up to be independent, confident, content men who can take care of themselves. And that'll never happen if Mommy is always interfering.

But I am picturing a little nerve center in my brain that fires, however briefly, whenever something happens to my children. It sends out a signal that says, "Protect them at all costs!" And there's no way for me to stop the signal from being sent, I can only decide whether I am going to obey and step in, or fight the urge until it passes.

Does anybody else have the same little nerve center in their brain? Please tell me I'm not the only one!


AJ said...

My incidents with letting go were those first few times with my daughter on playground equipment without me standing a foot away, and the biggie... the first day of preschool.

Last week it came back bigtime when our daughter climbed a ladder to the monkey bars on the preschool's playground (not that she could reach the monkey bars), and she fell, biting tiny chunks out of both sides of her tongue. It has already healed, but oof!

Father Sez said...

Gosh! You think you are alone? My mother behaved exactly as you have described and she passed away only recently at 70.

Even when your eldest is about 60 or 70, I am sure you will, just like all mothers, still be feeling protective.

Denise Mall said...

I was going to reply like Father Sez, but he responded well.

It never goes away. I think we just see our children with love and to have anyone see them with anything less is disheartening and painful.

Luckily though, as all the children grow, these "issues" become less and less. Kids are so mean, but they turn into nice young people. Time is your friend here.

Enjoy the protecting feelings. These were put into you so that your child is full of love and security as he moves out into the world.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, the mommy instinct. Once we were at a sandbox and I watched this little kid climb the equipment and then purposefully dump an entire bucket of sand on my little one's head. It was all I could do to control myself as I walked over to "talk" to the child!
As for injuries they are so frequent around here with 6 kids, I don't get too upset anymore. My response is usually, "is this one for the ER?"

Anonymous said...

I am exactly the same as you, My twins start preschool in September and the thought of it fills me with dread. Will they change from the lovely children they are, once they start mixing with other children and having a new caregiver. Sometimes I want to wrap them up in my arms and never let them go!

Anonymous said...

You HAVE read Robert Munsch's book "Love You Forever", haven't you? "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living, my baby you'll be..."

You will always want to protect your children, but you can't. My daughter is 12 and I'm already dreading the day she leaves for college, even though it's 5 years away! Of course, by then we'll be in those teen years and I might be really ready for her to go! I have friends who are convinced that God makes it work like that!

Anonymous said...

my only child just turned 1 and i had a very hard time dealing with it. i didn't realize how hard it was until my therapist helped me realize that was why i was so sad and only wanted to spend time with my son. i was actually sleeping with his first blankie that he used to cuddle!

i remember that early on i realized that our job as parents is to get out of the way. from the day they are born, our children are growing more and more independent. every day they can do just a little more without us and can take care of themselves a little better.

he's only one, but my guy always surprises me with the stuff he can do. it is so hard sometimes to let go. i'm really mourning the passing of his first baby times, the clinging, the intense bond. we still have an intense bond (he is my best friend for sure), but it changes a little as he gets older.

my mother likens this to a thread: as your child ages, the thread is longer and maybe even thinner but it never goes away and you are always tethered, in a beautiful way.

Anonymous said...

and when i say get out of the way, i should clarify. i mean that we should provide a safe, loving, unconditionally supportive environment for our kids to explore the world. this means letting them try and fail and try and succeed. it means trusting them to learn and be able to take on their world, with our support and help. we are the scaffolding. so, i remind myself to get out of his way, to not do things for him. it's so hard, isn't it?

Unknown said...

Yes it is marsupiel...My only child is 17, I never thought that letting go would be so hard. I raised her alone, her father never was involved in her life. I never married just focused on raising my baby. Now she is married, pregnant and moving away soon. I cry almost every day dreading the day she leaves. How do you cope? Why this pain so deep? What do i do know? Where do i go from here? I am having such a tough time, and I thank you ladies for sharing your stories, it makes me feel that i am not alone.