Letting Go

Yesterday morning  (Sunday) I experienced another step in letting go of my child.

My daughter left to go on a four-day trip and, as I stepped into our home after dropping her off at the school, I felt her missing spirit. I am used to her random hugs, her chattiness at the table, the sound of her voice when she talks to her sister. By the end of the day we all sorely missed her – and while we hoped that she was enjoying her experience, we look forward to seeing her again and hearing her voice.

I have realised that, as my daughter’s mom, I am slowly being introduced to the experience of letting go of my child. Thinking back, I remember the other times I have had to help her experience her independence and her steps into the unknown without me:

  • The time spent on the playground when I had to trust that she could climb the structures by herself; that she could make friends with others; and that she could solve the small confrontations she experienced.
  • The first day at school when I had to walk away, uncertain and trusting, hoping that the teacher would look after my little one and keep her environment safe.
  • The first time she went on a school trip and I was not there to make sure that she did not get lost.
  • The first time she went to the cinema with her older brother without me, pleased that no parents were with them.
  • The first time she went to sleepover at her cousin’s place brimming with joy and excitement.

A gap is left in the home when my daughter is not at home. As she gets older, I know that her space will be emptied more often – and for longer periods of time. I am hoping that in this way I am able to prepare myself for the time she moves out of our home to create one of her own.

What is your response when your child goes on a trip? How do you fill the gap that has been left behind?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2012

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10 thoughts on “Letting Go

  1. I first felt the gap begin to develop when my oldest son entered high school. I think I spent six months asking myself, “But what I am going to do?”. It was then that I realized the importance of defining my own life and interests separate from my sons. I had to make myself move on into the next season of life, understanding that our children always need us, just in a new capacity. 🙂

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      1. The challenging part for me is to make sure that I let my sons grow into adults and forge a new dimension to our relationship as parent and child.

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        1. And our relationship can only improve as we acknowledge our children’s independence and their ability to make their own choices: something to learn slowly as they grow 🙂

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  2. Well I’ve only been on the other side of this but once kids leave and come back home to visit I think it’s a whole new situation that can be really positive. It sounds like you already have a good relationship with her but just think how it might grow and develop over the years to come 🙂

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  3. it’s a tough situation… I miss my daughter whenever she’s away for more than a day…
    Next year, she’s going to Europe for 12 days, not sure what i’m going to do or how i’m going to feel..

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  4. When my daughter left home at age 23, I wasn’t ready. I surprised myself because I do love my own independence, space and time for myself. I thought that I would transition into this with ease! Our entire family felt her loss and ‘grieved’ for some time after she left to go to her new home without us. It wasn’t as though we weren’t prepared. Candice is a thoughtful daughter. She let us know that she was thinking of getting a place of her own and that it was now time to test her wings on her own. Intellectually, I completely agreed with her. She was finished post-secondary education. She had landed a fabulous job and it was now time for her to exercise her full independance as a full-fledged adult. And, she was ready for it!
    We helped her move with a lump in our throats. And, she chuckled when she said Mom as she looked at my worried face when we hugged goodbye at her new door – all hers. I wasn’t worried. I knew she could take care of herself. It was the grief of loss – of being her ‘Mommy’.
    When she married, I had the same reaction, maybe even stronger, as she said her I do’s to her new husband. With my daughter, I now officially would be leaving the world of ‘Mommy’ behind. I could choose to be unselfish and let her go, but emotionally – I was selfish and I could’nt help it!
    It was surprising to me and emotioanlly overwhelming because I thought my feelings would be completely different. I wasn’t expecting the feelings to surface so strongly. I decided to accept my feelings, but let her go with grace, not intervening or interfering in any way. It just about killed me to do this, but it was essential to let her go and let her live her own life.
    We still do miss the sound of her voice and the conversation and especially her laughter, every day.

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    1. Thank you for sharing with us Darlene. You are still a mommy though. I know that once I married, and then had children, I turned to my mom for advice of a different kind. Being able to let go of your daughter allows her to have the chance, I think, to come back to you when she has her own daughters.

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