Our regular contributor and mum-of-two Lorraine Coxon talks Letting Go. I asked Lorraine if she would write a longer piece based on the comment she left on my article, Our interesting stage in parenting. The comment was:
“I reached a new stage of parenting this morning and I’m not dealing with it well. “A” walked to school on her own this morning with 2 friends. As the house suddenly went empty and quiet, “B” and I looked at each other at a loss as to what to do. We had an extra 15 minutes. It was very quiet.
After I dropped him off at school, I had two thoughts: get a full-time job and have more babies. They’re just knee-jerk reactions to seeing Amber become independent. I’ve still got one child who’ll need dropping off and picking up for a good few years yet, but my baby girl is wearing my clothes and no longer a baby and I don’t want to let go. Still, I have to let go. I’ll just cling to the dog – she loves being cosseted.”
As usual, Lorraine’s article is beautiful and moving and I love it. Enjoy. Yvonne
As your children get older, you learn to let go, from baby to childcare and then to a nursery and so on. But really, it’s not that bad because you are still totally needed and in charge and know everything about your child.
One day, they walk to school on their own.
I always said I would take my children to school myself and would ensure their safety. When they were old enough, they would be able to walk on their own (and I was thinking of 14 years old or something) but last week that moment came sooner than we expected. Some friends came to call for our Y6 daughter at 8:30am. She asked us if she could walk to school and it was a real now-or-never moment for us parents. She has a smart phone so she could text us when she got there and she would be with two other kids. Ok, we conceded, she could go.
And off she went. I watched her walk off with her friends, my baby all grown up, and panic set in. Would she be safe? My son and I had an extra 15 minutes all of a sudden and we didn’t know what to do with ourselves. The house was very quiet and I felt all weird and didn’t like it. She texted when she got to school so I knew she was safe, but the weird feeling lasted all day.
What was I going to do with myself now? My first born and I had entered new territory and I wasn’t ready to let go. I have spent the last 11 years being her mum, protecting her, knowing exactly where she was and who she was with and now she didn’t need me. This is what it is going to be like in September when she starts high school. She’ll waltz off to pastures new on her own and I will be taking the youngest to his school and not be going to her primary school ever again. That school has been part of my everyday life for 8 years. I know all about it.
Except that she DOES still need me and all this nonsense in my head is just that – nonsense. It’s natural and normal for growing up to happen and they haven’t been babies for a long time; it’s just primary school allows that pretence to go on for longer. I don’t think the letting go actually has that much to do with my daughter being out on her own because I have faith in her that she will be sensible and strong and do the right thing. She is ready for this next stage in her life. I am not ready for this next stage in MY life. It is time to redefine who I am because I’m going to have space to do so. I must see this as an opportunity for both of us, for her sake, to give her room to grow.
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