I am writing in the car, a novel experience for me, as we drive our firstborn to campus move-in day. It has been a minimally emotional day thus far, but I laughed with one of her godmothers, who accompanies us, that I am already inhabiting my role within the family as “cruise director” ensuring that everyone is reasonably happy and guaranteeing that I will be cranky and exhausted by bedtime. It is 9:00 am.
I knew this day would come, but I haven’t come across anyone appropriately prepared for it. How do you let go a piece of your heart? I remember reading something during my pregnancy with her that lingers…"I carried you under my heart for nearly a year, loving you before I knew you. You will always be a part of me…"
|Our children are not ours. |
Like arrows, they come through us,
and we launch them into the future.
They belong to that time, not to us.
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I am unspeakably proud of the work God has already done in this brilliant young woman. She is so fierce, so brave, that she inspires me to be stronger and to know my own voice. As she goes forth, I know she is covered in the prayers of many who love her, and that nothing will interfere with the Will of God and His Call on her life. I trust Him, even as I do not trust myself.
Ecclesiastes 3 teaches us that to everything in life occurs in its proper time…
To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (KJV)
I am not the first mother to let go, and the lesson of Khalil Gibran on parenting resonates with me now…children are not ours. Like arrows, they come through us, and we launch them into time. They belong to that time, to the future, and not to us.
We are probably halfway there on our road trip. She is far enough away to be away, but close enough for emergencies. I will respect her boundaries, limiting my interaction to the occasional text, or maybe a phone call only when something silly happens that I know she will appreciate. I have to let her be. I wrote all manner of encouragement and notes to make her laugh; I plan to scatter them around her drawers along with chocolate kisses and peppermint patties (her favorites).
My boys will care for me, My Beloved, the Professor, and Sando. They’ll get me through this letting go. This releasing. Them and God. A wise girlfriend encouraged me to "lean into the pain to allow the release to occur without restraint."
I told her I was "breathing through it, like birth." We were both right. The release occurred without restraint, I did breathe, and while there was pain it did not overtake me. Ecclesiastes prepared me well. It was time.