A few weeks ago I was blindsided by a huge unexpected wave of emotion that ended with me doing an ugly cry in the parking lot of my son’s summer camp. I suddenly realized I was inches away from a huge roots and wings moment in parenting. I’m sending my son off to kindergarten! I’m trusting others to help guide him and teach him. I’m saying one more goodbye to add to the pile of those life moments I’ve made with the boy who made me a mom.
I knew it was coming. I wrote about it back in 2010…
“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.”
I’m so proud of him that he’s so excited and ready to start school, but I also think its okay to feel sad about such a happy moment. For the past five years he’s been with me nearly every day for hours on end. Starting school feels like and is such a big milestone. It means that your child is ready to separate from you and spread his wings a little bit. So while I feel confident that he’s fully prepared for this moment, the letting go doesn’t always come easily.
Admittedly, I take comfort in the fact that when school is over my boy is still little enough to want to crawl up into my lap with his bunny and snuggle while we read books before bed. That he still needs me to kiss his boo-boos, and help him understand his emotions like the sadness associated with one of his best friends moving across the country. That he comes to me with his super creative artwork, and that I’m the first one he wants to tell his silly jokes to – even if they often include something about farts or butts… These are the gifts of motherhood. It’s milestones and moments like this that help remind me that our moments together are fleeting but the roots we are creating are strong ones.
Each stage of motherhood feels significant because it is. Our jobs are constantly evolving, and it is okay to cry. So to all the moms who will be doing an ugly cry in a parking lot after dropping of their child at school, I will be there with you shedding happy tears. Letting go isn’t as easy as it sounds, but the gift of watching our children grow up is the best one any mother can ask for.
If you are a parent who has been there and done that already, what advice would you share with a parent letting go of one more big life moments?
A note on the artwork: I asked my favorite designer to put my favorite motherhood quote onto something I could hang on my wall as an everyday reminder. I love what she came up with. The red birds not only symbolize my children, but also my own mother.
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