Thursday, May 23, 2013

Tucked Safely Under My Wing

My third child is graduating from high school later today.  It's a wonderful day that marks the successful completion of many years of hard work.  Hers and mine. 

But it also marks the beginning.

She is eighteen.  She is legally responsible for her actions.  She could move out and do whatever she wants without my approval.

Those of you with small children will read this and think eighteen sounds so old.  You won't be able to imagine that tiny baby or toddler so far into the future.  And you probably think by the time they turn eighteen you'll be ready.  You'll see how smart and independent they are.  You'll see them reaching for the world and you'll do everything you can to help them grab it.  You'll know it's time for them to leap into the wonder around them and learn to fly.  You think you'll be ready.

You're kidding yourself.

They'll feel like they're all grown up and you'll still see that five-year old, crying because she hurt herself on the playground  They'll be making plans to take off on their grand adventure and you'll think of all the times they called you from school begging you to bring them something they forgot.

How will they make it in the big, bad world without you?  Why aren't they content to stay tucked safely under your wing forever?

Well, they outgrow that wing.  They just don't fit anymore.  They eventually see the fragility of that wing and realize it's not as safe as they thought and they need to create their own shelter.  And they need to learn to fly.

You will understand all this in your head, but your heart will still ache for simpler times.  You will yearn for those days when all they wanted was to climb into bed with you and snuggle up.  Those days when a juice box or a popsicle made everything all better.

And with the strength of Hercules you will open your heart and release them into the world.


Caleen said...

It does take a Herculean effort to even think of letting them go off and be captains of their own ships in life. Beautifully said, my friend.

Lisa said...

I've struggled with what I call the "letting go moments". Quite frankly, I don't like it. But there is joy to be found in those moments, too. Congratulations on your soon to be graduate.

The Dose of Reality said...

Awww, congratulations to your daughter! :) This is such a sweet post and totally made us cry.-The Dose Girls

Dana @ Kiss my List said...

I have three years until my baby flies the coop, and I'm already a mess. It is going to take the strength of Hercules to let her go - but that's the whole purpose of parenting, isn't it? Doesn't make it any easier. Congrats to your daughter!

Mothering From Scratch said...

{Melinda} All these things are so true. I have two more years before my oldest moves out from under my wing. And I can already relate to all these feelings because I can already feel the shift happening -- as it should. But it is definitely bittersweet.

I'm confident you've done your job, mama. She'll fly high. :)

OneMommy said...

Thank you so much for stopping by this Sharefest -- it brought me to your page.
Your post is beautiful, heartfelt, and brought tears to my eyes.

Already my 5 year old is pushing out from under that wing.
She doesn't want me to bandage her "boo-boo's" anymore; she is a little mommy to her brother and so independent!

Congratulations to you and your daughter for making it to such a milestone. I hope she stays in the nest a while longer. I am sure she would love to read your post.

Thistle Cove Farm said...

A change means a new season of life; God speed on your journey.

Tamara Camera said...

It feels far sometimes, I admit, but I know it won't seem that way one day. Just to comfort myself from all of this growth I think about my 99-year-old grandmother whose oldest "baby" (my uncle) is 65! I wonder what she sees when she looks at him. All of the years swirled together?

Unknown said...

Congratulations! I know it can't be easy to let your kids go, but think of what a testament it is to your mothering that she's ready. And you're right I can't imagine my wee ones ever getting that old. I look at my newborn and I'm in amazement that my oldest was that tiny just 4 years ago.