I’m beginning to see that there will always be a twinge of sadness that comes with parenthood.
Because what is parenthood, but an art of letting go?
We let go because our kids grow up and change.
Regardless of how small or how significant, change always causes mourning and grief.
Sometimes the grief that comes from a change is such a tiny blip on our radar that we just shrug and assume this is how things’ll be (like a social media platform changing its style; or Taco Bell no longer carrying the Mexican Pizza… though that one was a little more than just a shrug).
Other times, the grief can be life-shattering; heart-wrenching; the world -altering that we know life will never ever be the same and at this moment, you don’t know how tomorrow will come.
We were finally able to go on a trip that kept getting postponed because of the pandemic. We were still a little nervous about the actual traveling/flying part but we knew that our final destination will be alright because we’d be secluded from the world that is.
On the final plane ride, I looked over at my son looking out the window. He was filled with such wonder and fascination that he was almost hypnotized by the sound of the engine and the view of the tiny trees and cars far below us.
I had to take a picture of him.
I went to see what the picture looked like and I couldn’t get over just how big and grown he looked.
And immediately, a little sadness snuck its way into my heart.
There’s that constant tension of wanting to hold on and knowing to let go.
It’s the joy of he’s getting so big alongside the tinge of sadness of I won’t be able to pick him up and hold him like I’d want to anymore.
I guess the healthy parents wrestle with the sadness and start letting go and letting their kids get older… eventually.
I mean, one of the hardest things in life is letting go.
Think of all the unhealthy ways we’ve held on to things that we shouldn’t have.
Mainly because we’re not ready for the change that accompanies letting that go.
So we hold on tightly hoping for the best and eventually, we fall into the cycle that Einstein described as insanity: doing the same things over and over and expecting change.
And gosh, the concept of time is so unfair.
Oh, how we wished time would move faster when we were younger.
Now that I find myself older, time is simply moving far too fast.
How I wish time would just slow down. A little bit.
Our kids will grow up too fast for us.
We’ll have a hell of a time trying to keep up with the never ending changes, all the while trying to hold on tightly to the way things were.
Our kids will go about their lives blaming us for their flaws due to our parenting style.
Then, if they’re smart, they’ll come around and realize how much we loved them and how hard we tried to be good parents and how difficult all that was because they were little shits. Little shits we’d give our lives to without a second thought. But still, little shits.
I constantly wonder what Nathanael would be like when he’s a teenager. I wonder what kind of teenager he’d be; what kind of adult he’d be; how he would function in the real world… all the while wanting to desperately hold on to this time where he calls a barracuda a “bootycooda.”
It’s truly unfair how fast these kids grow; how fast time flies.
In the next blink of an eye, it’ll be Nathanael giving me piggy backs to go from here to there.
How important it is to be in the “here”, “this” and the “now.”
Because there is not a single thing we can do about the onslaught of time.
But what we can do is take a full stock of the blessing and generosity of the now.
To enjoy our kids when they’re enjoyable; to put that in the banks of our hearts and souls so that it’ll carry us through when they’re —at best— tolerable.
One thought on “Parenthood: The Art of Letting Go”
Al has been home from college in Baltimore thanks to COVID for a year now. It’s been challenging and bittersweet. Part of me loves having him here but the other knows it’s time for him to be out in the world living his own life, establishing himself in the world. I will miss him when he goes back. It’s been amazing getting to know my adult child. BTW Jules got her drivers permit!