In the last six days I have watched our oldest child receive their high school diploma and dropped them off for their summer dream job. That job will take them away from our home for the entire summer, returning with enough time to switch items in their suitcase before leaving again for college until the Thanksgiving holiday. I have rejoiced with our child, our family, our friends, and our worshipping community at these realized dreams. Yet, my heart is also sad because life has changed forever with these realized dreams.
All those years ago in the delivery room my husband and I chatted about what parenthood might be like, knowing we had no clue what was coming. Parenthood has been so much more than we ever anticipated or planned. I have a clear memory of saying in the delivery room, “I cannot do this.” Just as clear is the Labor & Delivery Nurse’s encouragement and response, “You are doing this.” I have held on to those words countless times over the years; on the nights when I was exhausted and our children were not sleeping; on the days when no amount of logic or reason could change our child’s behavior; in the moments when I realized how powerless I was to protect my children; and each time I had to watch my children fail so they would learn. At times I have clung to those words like a lifeline when I thought there was no way I could do this thing called parenting.
Those were the words I clung to as I drove away from our child, watching them walk away in the rear view mirror. I am so excited for our child’s adventures, and to be a part of all that is coming. Yet, letting go was the hardest act I have ever committed. In that moment I was transported to the moment of their birth when I thought there was no way I could do this, yet I did and I held that precious baby on my chest marveling at the gift of we had been given.
I did not think I could do this letting go, yet I did. Today I am doing it still. Tomorrow I will continue. I trust eventually this new stage of parenthood will become more than we ever anticipated or planned. I remain thankful for the nurse who assured me I could do this, for my partner in parenting, and for the children who are making my life more than I ever dreamed possible.