Letting Go

Our journey in life is an unmapped roadway packed with tremendous joys and heartbreaking sadness. We laugh and cry along the way as we stagger blindly through each milestone. Some are great celebrations filled with balloons, cakes, and kisses. We publicly proclaim birthdays and graduations and weddings. Others are simple moments we catalogue, but often don’t glorify. And then there are the wrenching weights of grief and loss that tug us to the bottom of the murky pool. We stumble through each stage with no guidebook, no instructions. Most of us try to follow the map, but often we lose our way.

Our lives as parents begin with these tiny, drooling beings who depend on us for their survival. We are loved. We are needed. Joy abounds. Each day brings smiles and delight. As these small creatures grow, they begin to move away from us, first with a crawl, then a toddle, and finally a run. This is their entire existence: to become these full-grown souls who can breathe on their own. If we have done our jobs, they eventually don’t need us. They go on to create their own journeys down their own rocky paths.

My youngest is now at the starting gate of his own story: a new job in a different city and state. He has to follow his own map and create his own milestones. On his quest he will encounter trolls and monsters and perhaps even glory. He’ll make mistakes, but I know he has the soul of a loyal and noble knight. He’ll conquer the demons and will make his own way.

A few salty tears have been shed these past few days. My curly headed boy is now a man. My husband has gently advised me to let go of the motherly nagging and reminding. The boy wishes to walk this path on his own so I am stepping back, but in my mind I am still holding his hand as he crosses each street on his adventure.

“A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find that after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.” ~John Steinbeck