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I heard it said last week that parenthood is a continual journey of letting go, from the moment our children enter our lives.
Next week my youngest daughter will enter Kindergarten. I rather pride myself on being the mom who doesn’t have a hard time with the fact that her kids are in school (Are you kidding? After all the typical sibling fighting that I endure each summer? He was referring to OUR family when he sang, “And Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again,” even though we’re some months off from that particular song.). Nevertheless, I think I may actually tear up on Monday. Or, burst into a chorus of “Sunrise, Sunset.”
Two years ago, I began spending less time with her in Kindermusik. We went from the toddler class (when I was with her the entire time) to the preschool class (when I joined her for the last 10 minutes or so), which meant I got to sit outside and get some reading done (hooray!). However, it also meant that I wouldn’t be able to cuddle with her during quiet time in class any longer. This was oddly sad for me. (OK, maybe I’m not the stoic mom I think I am after all.)
But I realize, even being in the toddler class meant more letting-go than it had when my daughter was in the baby class with me. Most babies, of course, love the infant massage and the dances. My toddlers only wanted me around on their terms.
This year, my baby enters the Kindermusik for the Young Child class. I’m so excited for her to learn rhythm and note reading. And she’s eager to finally learn about all the instruments we have lying around our house—she was filling the house with sounds from the recorder just the other day. Still, no longer will sharing time be about pretending to be cars going through the car wash. Instead, we’ll do a Mexican hat dance or some rhythm games together. Kindermusik, ever mindful of where most kids are in their development, has structured this curriculum to be exactly right for her stage. Still, even as we enter one exciting stage, we leave another one behind.
I don’t think I’m sharing any perspective that is particularly unique in its profundity. But I also see this process stretching ahead with my oldest daughter who will be entering seventh grade this year. This will be her third year in her particular middle school, so we don’t have that particular jump the way many seventh graders do into middle school. However, she is very much becoming a teenager, choosing solitude at home over spending the day with her grandma.
One day, if I’ve done my job, my kids will leave home. . . Yeah, I can’t even bear to think about that stage on a morning like today. Let me just focus on getting through Kindergarten.
I think this process of letting go applies to my own life. I mean, not just that I’m doing the letting go of my own kids. Rather, as an adult, I sometimes have to abandon certain cultural messages that I have previously held onto—ideas about how I to live “happily.” I saw this video the other day and the tune (and of course, the message) still rings in my head:
Melody Beattie, author, said, ““Letting go doesn’t mean we don’t care. Letting go doesn’t mean we shut down. Letting go means we stop trying to force outcomes and make people behave. It means we give up resistance to the way things are, for the moment. It means we stop trying to do the impossible–controlling that which we cannot–and instead, focus on what is possible–which usually means taking care of ourselves. And we do this in gentleness, kindness, and love, as much as possible.”
May you find gentleness, kindness, and love today as you let go.
[By the way, I couldn’t access that Colbie Caillat YouTube video with my safe search filter on. However, I’m a little dumbfounded that it is flagged as being possibly inappropriate, as you can find it on the Disney channel music videos. If you prefer, you can access that particular link here. Unfortunately, WordPress seemingly wouldn’t let me embed it from Disney.]