Today was one of those “I can’t quite pull it together” kind of days.
I got halfway through making oatmeal pancakes and then closed myself in the bathroom and cried. After the sobbing stilled, I wiped my mascara-stained cheeks and went out to the kitchen to finish flipping pancakes. But after packing up bag lunches for the trip ahead, tears kept blurring my vision and I headed back to the bedroom.
Why is it so hard to let go of your kids? I wondered.
I sure was having a hard time letting go of mine.
Little Ways of Letting Go
No matter how old your kids are, little ways of letting go as they grow will always pop up.
you leave your infant with a sitter for the first time,
you let your kids make breakfast (and a mess of the kitchen) by themselves,
your daughter has a sleepover at a friend’s,
you let them stay home alone when they’re sick,
they head off to winter retreat and you’re not one of the counselors,
your son gets behind the wheel of the car and drives off–on his own,
you’re letting go.
Those “little” ways seem like such a big deal because is there anyone you love more than your kids? Anyone you pray for more?
You care what happens!
Under Pressure: Trying to Make Everything Turn Out Right
All that care and concern for our kids translates into taking on this need to oversee the “who, what, why and when”. Being in control, after all, means there’s a better chance everything will turn out right, right?
When is your homework due?
Who’s going to be at the party?
What movie are you going to watch at the sleepover?
You diligently vet the babysitter and make extensive emergency checklists. You lay down rules for watching TV after the science project is done. You’ve got to stay on top of things after all, right?
Being a responsible parent is one thing. Coming under the incredible weight of feeling like it’s up to you if everything is going to go the way it’s supposed to is another.
Relax & Rest
God never meant anyone to carry that kind of burden. He asks us to stop trying and striving and rest. Let go of trying to be all and do all.
Opportunities to let go are opportunities to trust God. They’re humbling moments when you realize God is the One who’s in control; any idea that you were ever were in control was just an illusion. You realize your weakness and the reality of your limits.
You’re not a perfect parent. At one time or another, you’ll forget something. Or make a wrong judgment call. Or you won’t be around to be in control.
Which is where I find myself right now.
I knew letting go of my “boy” was inevitable. He’s twenty-three, after all and I’m lucky he’s been around this long. He was offered a great job and wants to explore somewhere outside of the Midwest. I just wish Seattle weren’t so far away. I’m so excited for him and in a panic all at the same time.
But I keep telling myself this and thought I’d share it with you too:
God is big.
He deserves 100% of your trust.
He loves your kids more than you do.
He is bigger than your parental shortcomings or anything you forgot to do, say, or check on.
So…rest, relax, trust, and let go.
2020 © Carol Garborg