The second a child comes into your life, you know at some point, you will have to let go. They are babies, and they need you as infants, but not too long after, they find their own two feet can take them places, and they start walking, exploring and discovering. Even as toddlers, they are beginning their journey away from you. As much as you want to hold on, the truth is, you are already beginning to let go.
Think about it. Your toddler turns three or four, and he is ready for pre-school. You let him go. He has to find his way, make friends, create things on his own, and learn to listen and respect others, not just his parents. He is growing up before your eyes, and you watch in wonderment.
As he continues to grow and begins to become interested in activities, you guide him, but ultimately, he finds what suits him, and he chooses his own path. While some may find sports as a passion, others may dance, act, play instruments, paint, draw, or become a magician. The possibilities are endless, and you support your child’s choices.
You are proud of all of his hard work and accomplishments. Nothing can compare to the pride you feel regarding your children, each child.
Before you know it, he is turning into a little person, a small adult, and your conversations change from talking about Disney cartoons to talking about Harry Potter or Jack Bauer on “24.” You instill lessons of hard work and reward. You take family vacations together because you know time is fleeting and you have to grab hold of any moments you can that are magical and leave you with fond memories of how important this young person is to you. He grew out of a love you share with your husband, and yet, he continues to grow away from you.
This is not a bad thing. You are doing something right.
But now it’s 3:45 a.m. in the morning. Your alarm is set to go off, but you are already wide awake, and you gently tap your son so he can prepare to catch his plane to California. He’s a junior in high school, and his DECA group is heading to International competition. You spent the last evening helping him pack, and your heart sank, because you realized that in a little over a year, you will be sending him off to college.
How did you get here?
You want to hold on, but you can’t.
He’s growing up. He’s becoming a man.
You hug him and tell him how much you love him, and he walks out the door into the dark of what is still night with his suitcase.
You tell him to have fun, have a good trip, be safe, and eat something healthy.
You’re still holding on, but you have to let go.
Stephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of Inn Significant, Baseball Girl, and Beneath the Mimosa Tree. Along with her colleagues Leeanne Bell McManus and Chip Rouse, she is a co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt.