There’s a country song by Kenny Chesney (“There Goes My Life”) that I can so relate to—not just because it’s about teenagers having a baby. But the message behind it rings so true in my heart, how eventually that little one grows up and leaves the nest. As the father’s daughter drives off, he sings “There goes my life.”
Many of us haven’t just made our children part of our life—we’ve made them our entire life. We have wrapped ourselves up in them to such a degree that we don’t know how to let go when it’s time. Or we’re just not willing to even entertain the idea of letting go, so we hang on with everything we’ve got.
It’s hard to let go—that first time you leave the baby with a sitter. The first time you drop your hand and he takes a step. The first time you let go of the bike and she pedals. The first day of school…the first date…the first time driving away. All of these “let go moments” that are part of life and yet so difficult to accept.
Letting go isn’t just about getting through stages…its learning that our life is more than our children. God may have blessed us with the awesome responsibility and privilege of being a parent but it’s not the whole of who we are—and if we don’t get that early on, we’re going to struggle later.
I know…because I’ve been there. I’ve spent the last couple of years navigating this, when less than two months after graduating high school my oldest son left for basic training. And now I’m getting closer to the time my second child will leave to start her own life.
You see, it’s so important we don’t look at those moments as “there goes my life.” Because then we have nothing. And that’s not what God intends when He blesses us with children.
As our children get older, we don’t love them any less and we don’t stop being a parent. But there comes a time when we just have to let go. If we don’t have something else to fall back on, we’re going to struggle. Not that it’s wrong to be sad when a child gets married, goes off to college, joins the military or whatever direction life takes him/her. But we must move on and fulfill the purpose that God has for us as a person—not as a mom or dad.
It’s not easy…in fact, I’ve found it to be downright painful. But we don’t stop living when our child walks out the door. Life takes a new direction, one that we need to be ready to embrace.
© 2014, Stephanie Romero