Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Loosening My Grip

It isn't quite time to "let go", but I think I need to start loosening my grip.

There are just a few weeks left in Elizabeth's junior year of high school. Next year at this time we'll be in the midst of graduation plans. *yikes!* And soon after, my baby girl will be headed off to college, and then - if she's anything like me - she'll never really "live at home" again.
*mix of excited-for-her-but-sad-for-me feelings in my tummy*

So last Friday I came to a realization when Elizabeth told me about plans she'd made with friends. They were all going to meet at a local park and hang out for the evening. Ride bikes, play on the swings, talk - just doing things teenagers like to do.
That was all fine with me, until she mentioned they were planning to meet about 5 or 5:30, and I said, "What about eating dinner?" Elizabeth said she would grab a snack "or something" before she left. And that's when my control issues flared.
I immediately thought, You can't just grab something and go. You need to be here for dinner. We need to eat together as a family. Doesn't all the latest research point to how important it is for families to eat dinner together? We have to do things right. We must eat together.

Because it's important to do what the researchers say is important, right?
I mean, if I let her go hang out with her friends instead of staying home to eat with her family, I might be viewed as an unloving mom who doesn't care about the well-being of her daughter. Right?
And I certainly don't want to be viewed that way. Because I do love my daughter. And I am concerned about her well-being.

But then something happened.
I asked myself, Why?
Why do I think it would be better for Elizabeth to stay home and eat dinner with us, than for her to go spend time with her friends? Because I'm concerned about what other people would think of me? Because I'm afraid of letting her go???
That's when the reality hit me about her moving on in the near future. And I realized letting her go hang out with her friends didn't mean I was "letting her go", but that I was loosening my grip.
My baby girl is growing up, and she will leave the nest one day. I realize I can't change that fact. And, honestly, I don't want to. Rather, I want my baby girl to grow into the young woman God has created her to be. To live for Him and honor Him as a mature, independent adult.

So, with the knowledge that she would be back in a few short hours, I sent her off to be with her friends. And when she got home and told me about all the fun they'd had together, I was so glad I'd loosened my grip. She would have been totally bored if I'd made her stay home. *wink*



Gianna Rae said...

This made me get teary-eyed. My baby girl is 8 and I'm already emotional about that time in her life. Sorry it's been a while since I've stopped by. I've missed you

Leah @ Point Ministries said...

Never having had children, I cannot even begin to imagine how hard it is to turn loose. Yikes!

Karen Hossink said...

Gianna - So good to "see" you! I've missed you, too.
Honestly, I am excited about this time in Elizabeth's life. Not that I'm excited about her leaving, but it delights me to see who she's becoming.

Leah - I imagine the letting go will be harder when the actual day arrives. But for now, that anticipation is kind of fun.