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.
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.