Greetings from the Front Porch. Many of the discussions on my blog revolve around loving and letting go. That is because I am in the middle of the last season of my teenager’s lives and a theme that seems to be occurring not just daily but hourly and sometimes by the moment.
Letting go and loving well almost sounds like a contradiction. When I think of love, I think of holding something. If I loved you, would I not hold you? How does this apply to parenting an almost adult child who is trying to spread her wings and fly?
My heart hurt as I listened without fixing. I wanted to hold her and she wanted to be alone. I left her room feeling defeated. “Did she not need me anymore?” I use to be the one she would ask for. When she was eight, she informed me by voice message that she could not walk straight without me. Now ten years later, I am the last one she wants to share her wounds with. However, the first one she wants to pick a fight with.
Intellectually I understand the need for my girl to separate from her mama. I understand the importance for her to grow up and learn to navigate through her own trials and errors. Intellectually I understand she hurts the one she loves the most. I get all that. On the other hand, emotionally, my heart is having a hard time.
How was I supposed to parent my child when she did not even want me in her presence? I sat in my room sulking. I wanted her to need me. I wanted her to run to me. I knew better. I was fighting with my flesh as my spirit reminded me that the struggle strengthens the faith muscles. I reminded myself that she is walking straight after all these years of believing she needed me in order to walk upright like all her friends.
Rescuing, fixing and enabling are not love, it is selfish, and another truth I had to remind myself as I realized I had a choice to make.
I chose to turn my sulking into thanking. I listed ten things I was grateful for about my almost grown girl. As I touched gratitude, I found myself remembering the greatest gift ever given to me almost ten years ago.
When the one who loved me enough to let me go finally did, my faith grew and my healing happened. I drifted to sleep counting my blessings and holding tight to the truth that finally set me free.
A few hours later I woke up to a soft knocking on the bedroom door. My almost adult daughter who had earlier wanted to be left alone was now standing at my bedside. For a brief moment, I thought I was back in the future.
I was ready to find myself looking into two big brown eyes of my toddler trying to get my attention. Instead, as I opened my eyes, I lifted my neck, looking up into the face of my girl. Before I could even say a word she whispered, "Thank you for not trying to fix me, I love you. “
Both her father and I received her words as a gift and conformation that all she needed from us was an ear of understanding and space for her struggle.
This I have come to find true. Loving someone, enough to let them go does not feel loving at all. However, if I have faith in my truth, recognize my feelings and love enough to let go, they will grow.