While each passing moment reminds me that my high school Senior is quickly becoming a young man, a cartoon image clicks in my mind. It is a split image of a young man and his Mom. On the left side of the cartoon a young man is walking out the front door of his home with a suitcase in hand. He is leaving the nest for the first time and around his torso is tied the arms of his Mom. Her body clings tightly to him; sobbing, gripping so tightly he gasps for air. Her legs are dragging behind him as he takes his first step out the door. She begs, “Don’t leave me, Son!” Below the image is written, “The Mom I Could Be!”
The second image portrays the same mom (she looks strangely like me), standing tall and smiling confidently. Her face is peaceful and a strong arm rests around her son. She gives him a goodbye that instills confidence and a firm footing in the young man as he steps out the door. I’m still working on what this mom says to her boy. Below the image is written, “The Mom I Choose to Be!”
These images portray the conflict within me as my heart and head struggle to unite in order to release my son well when the big moment comes. His High School Graduation is approaching quickly and I have been preparing myself since the day he was born.
You have gathered by now, I am not one of those moms you hear cheering when her kids go back to school after being home for long summer days. No, I am the one who is mourns the end of summer and the limited amount of time left to enjoy each other once they go back to school. I love our daily conversations in the van and I am their biggest sports fan. I melt when they smile and I labor in prayer for their lives.
So, how does a woman invest her entire heart, soul, mind and energies into the development and nurturing of her own flesh and blood and then release him?
Does she turn off the flow of adoration?
Does she keep silent even when her heart is aching?
Or does she cling, manipulate and control any detail she can in order keep him close?
I am convinced that most of us Mom’s are struggling with similar thoughts of loss and sadness when their children leave the nest. Some of us choose to act wacky and squeeze the life out of our kids while others release their children well.
From even the early days of parenting, I am faced with the choice to react to my emotions (yikes!) or to respond in healthy ways in the parent-child relationship. This requires honesty with myself about my feelings (not stuff them) and the desire to objectively support the stages of life my children are in.
If I desire for them to pursue their dreams, live inter-dependently as adults and have thriving family relationships of their own, then I must release them well!
Mamas, how are you doing on your journey to releasing your young adults well? Have you thought about what this will look like?
Are you able to talk with friends about your heartaches and anxieties? Do you receive a balanced and healthy response from them when you do?
Are you living with purpose outside of the parent-child relationship? If you aren’t, then it will be difficult to release well.
I hope you will join me –no matter what stage of life your children are in- -as we discover how to release our children well. Perhaps together we can figure out the best caption for “The Mom I Choose to Be”.