Recently, I have been reading a lot about the sadness associated with the beginning of a new school year all of the letting go it requires. I am not there yet, but oh my, I can tell you I will be a wreck. Yes, I will be happy that my little man is growing up, and is heading on to places that will help him develop as a person, but there is always a sense of sadness when our children begin a new stage in their lives.
The truth is that parenting is filled with these moments of melancholy. When we gave birth to our beautiful children we all knew parenting wasn’t going to be easy, and that it would have many tough moments. But I know I personally didn’t expect being a parent to be such a mixed bag of emotions. That with every big (and little) accomplishment or stage our child enters there would be sadness in letting go.
When Squish was six weeks old he had already grown out of his 0-3 month clothes.(He never fit in newborn clothes being 10 lbs 2 oz at birth.) In a mix of postpartum emotions, I found myself crying as I packed up these clothes. I posted on Facebook something to the effect of “I didn’t realize the simple act of packing up clothes could be so sad.” My mother sent me a message that day that has stuck with me through every happy/sad moment, here are the central parts of that letter.
One of the hardest things about being a mother is that every day is another goodbye – the old adage about the best two gifts you can give your children are roots and wings is really true. Only no one said the wings part would be so hard, especially if you have worked hard on the roots part!
All of the benefits of motherhood are gifts – like little hands on my face and the looks of absolute adoration. Not to mention the knowledge that my first little girl has grown to be healthy and kind, and is now a loving mother because of the “Letting go” I did.
The roots and wings adage has been something I try to remember at the times when I find myself saddened over moments that I should be celebrating. Moments like packing away old cloths, Squish’s first birthday, the moment he started walking, and I am sure I will feel the same twinge in the pit of my stomach when my “baby” starts school.
For now I will keep reminding myself that as a parent I will continue to give my child to great gifts of roots and wings. I will take joy the gifts of little hands, slobbery kisses, and his big blue eyes looking up at me saying “mama” will be the rewards I get for letting go and giving my baby wings to continue to grow into the amazing little man he is quickly becoming!
(That and the fact that at almost 29 I still need my mother on a pretty regular basis, so there is hope that my Squish isn’t going anywhere for a long time.)
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