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mother watching kids board school bus

Sending your child out into the big world can be scary. If you had a mother who was over-protective, or who was mostly absent, you may struggle to find a good parental balance as your own children grow and their world expands.

“Letting go” is a challenge. Fortunately, from birth to adulthood, we let go a little at a time. When you hold your newborn in your arms, you can’t yet imagine letting him play in the backyard. When he’s a toddler under your watchful eye, you can’t yet imagine sending him down the street on a bicycle. When he’s riding the bus to elementary school, you can’t yet imagine letting him drive a car to high school. When she starts high school and still needs parental boundaries, it’s hard to imagine sending her to college hundreds of miles from home. Each step in the “letting go” process can come surprisingly easy when the right time arrives! But looking ahead can overwhelm our motherly instincts. Each step brings a mixture of emotions for mom: pride in your child’s progress and accomplishments; concern for him as his world and influences widen; and your own emotions involved in releasing her. Our children will grow and “go.” The alternative isn’t very acceptable, having them stay dependent on us. So we might as well “let go.” But doing it with grace takes preparation, prayer, and perhaps a sense of humor.

When I sent my first child to kindergarten, I felt pride in his readiness; but I admit, I shed a few tears. I dealt with the feelings in my typical way — by writing a poem. I dug out that poem today to share with you:

First Day of School

Big Yellow School Bus
Why are you in such a rush
To take my little boy away
To his first school day?

Wake ‘im up, “Get out of bed,”
Make sure both his socks are red;
Eggs and toast, butter and honey,
Forty cents milk money.

Hair combed, teeth brushed;
Out the door ready to rush;
Stopping to kiss me the same way
He’s watched his dad do each day.

I’m glad to see him take this step
With such eagerness and pep;
But, School Bus, as you’re drawing near,
Will you overlook one tear?

Where’s the tot trailing yellow blankie,
Blue eyes smiling up at me?—
He is still my pride and joy,
Big Little School boy.

© Catherine Lawton

Maybe your child is stepping into a new milestone of her life. How does it make you feel? Do you find it hard to “let go”? Why is it hard, do you think? Was your mother a good role model for you in this process? What helps you the most at these times?

~ Catherine Lawton