Ready, Set, Don't Go

“We need, in love, to practice only this: letting each other go. For holding on comes easily; we do not need to learn it.”  Rainer Marie Rilker.

My sixteen-year-old daughter left on Wednesday on a mission trip to Nicaragua.  Today I have been reflecting on the subject of motherhood – perhaps because I know she is doing –just fine- without me.  Being a mother is hard. You experience such a wide range of emotions – triumphs and disappointments.  Just when you think you have your life balanced and it is going to be smooth sailing you find yourself in the midst of stormy seas again.  I am having a hard time just standing back and letting her start to break away from me.  It is a concept that goes against my motherly instinct of keeping them close to me.

As she was growing up I've always told her she can be anything she sets her mind to.  I wanted to make sure I wasn't transferring to her my fears of this "big bad world". Actually, I had to push her a little to go on this trip.  I encouraged her to take risks but it was all under my watchful eye.

However, now that she is starting to spread her wings and want to start carving her own path, I'm not sure I like it.  It is beautiful to see the wonderful young woman she is turning out to be.  I'm happy that she starting to feel more confident and happy away from me.  But I'm experiencing many contradicting feelings - happy and sad.  Beautiful, but oh so terrifying!

Last night Natalie and I decided to sleep in Kaitlin's room because we missed her so much.  Natalie was watching an episode of Hannah Montana on Netflix and it was about this subject of letting your kids start to fly on their own.  I'm not a big fan of Hannah Montana, but I have to admit I got watery eyes when Miley's dad started singing to her the song "Ready, Set, Don't Go".

"She's gotta do what she's gotta do
And I've gotta like it or not

She's got dreams too big for this town

And she needs to give 'em a shot

Whatever they are...

... I painted this big ol' smile on my face
To hide my broken heart
If only she knew...

...She's waitin' on my blessings 'fore she hits that open road
Baby get ready, get set, don't go.

There is this quote that I think sums up our job as parents:

I'm finding that giving them roots is much easier than giving them wings.

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