Of Trust and Letting Go

There is a delicate balance to this game of parenting, no matter what stage of the game you’re currently at.

An ebb and flow.

Of trust, and letting go.

It begins the first time you hand your newborn child over to someone and let them hold this little gift you’ve bestowed on mankind. This small piece of your heart.

I trust you, and I’m letting go.

And while the letting go isn’t always easy, it’s essential to the well-being of your child.

And you.

So you do it, maybe even just in small steps at first.

Maybe she’s a wonderful new friend from playgroup; a confidante with whom you share tales of sleepless nights and starting solid foods. You love scheduling play dates for your babies, even when you secretly know it’s really for the moms.

Then one time when you make plans to get together, she offers to watch your baby while you get some things done.

Just for a bit.

Or maybe it comes in a big way, when you head back to work and leave your baby with someone you’ve chosen based on trust and that feeling deep in your gut. Someone who will hold and rock this piece of your heart, soothe tears in your absence, and care for your little one as you would.

I trust you, so I think I can let go.

Preschool comes, faster than you’d thought it really would. Those little smiling faces sitting criss-cross-applesauce on the brightly-colored rug tug at your heart just a bit. But your little one is learning and growing, taking big steps towards independence.

The teacher smiles and motions for you to leave, and you do. But not without turning back at the car, wondering for a second if it’s really good to leave.

But I trust you, so I’m letting go.

When your child starts grade school a host of new issues threaten the balance. Field trips on buses or in another parent’s car; recess squabbles with classmates; hours spent away from home. They seem to be spending more time with other people than ever before, being influenced by their peers whether you like it or not.

Because you really can’t always be there.

And each year as they get a bit older and a bit more independent your trust begins to shift. Now it’s not only trusting the other adults who interact with your child, but also a trust of your child himself.

Trust that the little person you’ve been raising is getting a good sense of right and wrong, has the ability to make good decisions, and has tucked away some good common sense.

I trust you, which helps me let go.

The teenage years push trust to the forefront, and the give and take is on a daily basis. Can I borrow the car, stay out past midnight, go visit a friend, hang out at the mall?

Trust, always on a teeter-totter finding balance with letting go.

When you watch your teenager leave the house in a car driven by his teenage friend, you have to summon the trust from deep within. Because to trust another child to drive your child just takes the game to a whole new level.

I’m trying to trust you, so I can let this feeling go.

College beckons, pulling my son away not slowly but in an instant one day this coming fall. And while the journey of these past 17 years has gone way faster than the younger me had ever imagined, we have built a foundation of trust that will carry him while he’s out of reach.

When he needs to make decisions on his own, right his wrongs, and use that common sense he’s been stashing away.

I’ve learned that I can trust you, and now I can let go.

Comments

  1. Letting go is so unbelievably hard. It's our maternal nature to hover & protect for so many years then we're supposed to just step back and see if they stumble.
    So hard.
    Next year, my oldest will be starting high school and my baby will be in kindergarten. Two huge milestones- for them & me. I'm going to be an absolute basket case. I think I need to start stocking up with Kleenex now.

  2. Such loveliness, Sherri. It is all just a series of letting go, one after the other.

    Scares the crap out of me.

  3. The Empress says:

    I'll tell you, I just have to let it happen. If I stop and think too much about it, I am a mess o'heap on the floor.

    LOVELY, S.

  4. Lori @ In Pursuit of Martha Points says:

    This was lovely.

    And…oh so very scary. The degree of trust you give not just the teenager but the world when it's truly time for them to step away.

    But we must, and so we do.

  5. I'm so glad my little guy was cuddling with me while I read this. I'm crying hard enough as it is

  6. Mrs.Mayhem says:

    Trusting our kids is easier than trusting the world, but both are so much harder than I ever imagined they would be before becoming a mother.

    I am so grateful that none of my kids (or their friends) are old enough to drive. That level of trust would render me catatonic.

  7. Jessica says:

    This is a beautiful post. I'm in the process of teaching criss cross applesauce to prepare my kids for preschool but I don't even know how to begin to prepare myself. Your love for your children always shines through in your words, Sherri,

  8. zenaliciousmom says:

    Sniff sniff!!

    So appropriate and well timed for me. I'm struggling with drop off playdates and sleepovers at school friends houses where I don't "KNOW" the parents. ugh.

    I think I trust my 8 yo DD but no one else. heh – I remember my mom telling me that when I got my drivers license. So funny how it comes full circle!

  9. Melissa (Confessions of a Dr. Mom) says:

    Oh Sherri, I'm in tears over here.

    Letting go is SO hard. I was just thinking this last week or everyday…whatever. But, my kindergartner was to go on a field trip…without me. I was worried sick. Ugh.

    And? you got that moment of leaving your preschooler on the rug, criss cross applesauce so perfectly. That's my daughter…as she bravely waves goodbye.

    Now? You're sending yours off to college? Oh…Sherri…our hearts go through so much as mothers, don't they?

  10. Mommy Needs a Vacation says:

    This is such a beautiful post Sherri! You are scaring the hell out of me. HOW am I going to let go???? Sigh…I will def be at your doorstep with wine in hand!!

  11. I have been OK up until now. I'm dreading Kindy as well as birthday parties where we're supposed to just drop them off and leave!

  12. Missy@Wonder, Friend says:

    It's one of life's greatest contradictions. We need to let them go. At moments, we are desperate to let them go, let someone else deal with them for a while. And yet, letting them go hurts. It really, really hurts.

    I'm registering the oldest for kindergarten soon. I can't even type that without getting a knot in my stomach.

  13. Nichole says:

    Sherri…what a beautiful post.

    As you know, this is the thing that I struggle most with as a mother…the letting go.

    Katie should have begun preschool by now, she's nearly four.
    But, I have been selfish and have wanted her all to myself and I am now seeing signs that I have done her a disservice. So, we are finally looking into preschools. Because we need to, not because we want to.
    And my heart is breaking. Truly.

    So, I cannot even begin to imagine how you will feel this fall.
    What I do know, however, is that I will be right here if you need me, with a hug and with a heart full of love.

  14. Leighann says:

    I'm at stage one. In April I begin to trust and let go to the day care. Reading the ending of your post gave me butterflies.
    But we all have to trust and let go at some point.
    This is lovely writing.

  15. By Word of Mouth Musings says:

    Such beautiful words.
    But they terrify me just the same.
    My kids came home from the school system just over three years ago … letting go, I'm avoiding for now.
    But I do know one day they will, and they will do great things.
    Your words, are perfect.

  16. Mom Went Crazy says:

    This thought freaks me out. I'm okay with leaving at daycare, but college seems so far away and I know one day I'll blink and it will be here. Whew. Don't want to think about it!! Beautiful post.

  17. Sluiter Nation says:

    Letting go is so hard for me…and as i read these tales of having teens, I try to picture myself as the mother and my Eddie as the teen. And tears role down my face as I continue reading the post.

    Letting Eddie go to daycare almost killed me. I KNOW he loves it. And I trust my friend so much…but…

    this post is beautiful, Sherri. And so very difficult. I want to hold your hand through this…because I know you will be there to hold mine when my time comes.

  18. I love this post. I hate that my boys get older every day. I have a hard time trusting others to look after them. But it's part of life. Sigh.

  19. GratefulTwinMom says:

    Oh so foretelling for me. I find myself letting go a little more of my little ones everyday. It's definitely part of the deal. *sigh*

  20. JDaniel4's Mom says:

    I had such a hard time dropping off the preschool registration for the fall. I need to trust that he will be okay.

    Loved this post!

  21. I haven't really had to let go yet, just an hour here and an hour there and when I have done it I have been READY (know what I mean?) But these other things you talk about driving? college? I don't know how you have strength to let go…probably because you know you did a great job with them. (PS if your son gets into his first choice school the distance will be perfect, not too far not too close)

  22. Booyah's Momma says:

    "Because you really can't always be there."

    And this is one of the hardest truths I've been facing lately. My babies aren't technically babies any more. And I can't be there to hold their hand, wipe their tears, or give them a hug whenever they need it.

    Letting go, and really trusting, sometimes seems like an impossible task.

    Beautiful post, Sherri. Just beautiful.

  23. Beautiful post, Sherri. Your words are moving. I believe that this is what parenting is all about.

    Sadly, letting go and trusting myself or others, as never been my strong suit. Hopefully with time, I'll get better. Lucas deserves that.

    Lucas has already taught me more than I'll ever teach him.

  24. erin margolin says:

    Sherri,

    This was incredible.
    I am registering my twins for kindergarten soon. This made me cry. You are so right—it's a process, this letting go thing. And it's good for them, but doesn't always make it any easier on us. And ask me about the trust part again when they're teenagers!

  25. What a great way to put it! I've never thought of trust before as it relates to growing up 🙂

  26. I've been good with the trusting thing so far… I've had little choice.

    The teenage years though? Challenges abound… I hope we'll be ready for them.

  27. The Flying Chalupa says:

    Beautifully said, as always, Sherri. Wow, this fall is gonna be big for you. So big. I simply cannot imagine the teenage years or college, but it sounds like you've done a wonderful job. And that your son trusts his own instincts as well.

  28. Dalia (Generation X Mom) says:

    Love this. Sad in a way, but true and inspiring. Definitely not easy, but something we need to do.

Trackbacks

  1. […] whose words I turn to maintain my (tenuous) grip on sanity, has not only pushed me to reach higher but provided me a […]