Letting Go and Falling Forward

Letting go. It’s always been there, an innate and necessary part of the growing process. As a young adult you learn to let go of hurts and offer forgiveness in order to move forward. You let go of the false image of who you think you’re supposed to be and start taking cautious and uncertain steps down the shadowy path of who you actually are. I felt ready for these steps.

Running toward the kids’ salon. Mama has a hair hang-up over Josiah’s beautiful curls.

So why have I been unprepared for the amount of letting go it requires to be a parent? Don’t get me wrong. I don’t lament boxing away too-small clothes into the garage or yearn for the early days of newborn breath on my chest at 2am. But somehow there is still a resistance to them getting bigger. A knowing that as they embrace new things and explore new parts of their personality that they will be shedding some of the quirky qualities they have now, in this moment, that I have fallen in love with. When I ask what is at the heart of this resistance, I see that I’m afraid. Afraid that I’m going to forget these days in the tiredness and day-to-dayness of the small years. Afraid the next stage isn’t going to be better than this. Afraid they’re going to break my heart.

Driving his fire engine cutting chair. Getting ready for the chop as Mama talks with the stylist, saying phrases like “surfer cut” and “please keep as much curl as possible” and things as ridiculous as “if you can cut it without making it look like it’s been cut, that’d be great”.

I am left with two choices. Fight against the inevitable current of change, of life moving forward, or lean in. Lean into the fears. Lean into the risks. Lean into the letting go and trusting that we will fall into a new space that is just as beautiful and dear to my heart as the place we’ve just left behind.

Pigtails and Crewcuts in NTC, Point Loma. Worth. Every. Penny. When Josiah turned one Nate nudged that it might be time for a haircut. I bargained for another year that seemed to go by too fast. Thanks for the extra year and for not making me be the one to hold the scissors to his sweet curls, dear Husband!

Victory sucker complete with a smirk

I was dreading this. But it turned out to be a great adventure. Friends sent encouraging texts while we were there and I wielded my camera like the paparazi. The stylist was amazing with him and even didn’t act scared when I tracked her down into another room afterward to say thank-you in an overly loud voice.

We’ve been watching her move from a stance of watching other kids have fun on playground equipment she is scared of, to testing it out for herself. Courage. Growing up. Feeling proud of herself. These are good things we want for her.

When I look at my daughter I see the two day old baby with the soft and slightly pointed head we held at the hospital. I see the toddler wildly flapping her arms to practically “shout” at me in baby signs that she sees birds and thinks they are wonderful. I see her now as the four year old in her princess hat. But I also see her on her first day of school yet to come, and going off on her first date as a teenager, and as a strong young woman post college.

Selah’s new bed now that she’s a 4yr old! I couldn’t resist the castle loft bed with slide and hidey room underneath.

With Josiah it is the same. I see him in my arms as a newborn. I see him now. I see him in daydreams of when he has grown into a young man. The crystal ball of my heart sees all these points in time for my children. And I’m excited. My pulse quickens and a quick “thank you” prayer is muttered inside for the 1,000th time that day.

Taking a picnic lunch to the park. Eating in the sunshine. Coming back home a little sandy, full-tummied, and tired for afternoon naps. This is my new favorite way to spend 11am-1pm.

When it comes down to it, there is no choice for parents. As parents we want to give life to our children. And there just isn’t fresh life in stuck, stagnant ponds of pulling back, of trying to make your past also be your future. Hear me mamas. This doesn’t mean we can’t grieve for moments being left. It doesn’t mean that if we do cry while folding tiny clothes into a storage bin or if we do need to say yes when the kid’s stylist asks us if we’d like to keep a locket of baby curl for our scrapbooks that we are weak or unwilling to embrace life.

It is good and, dare I say, a spiritual act to recognize the wonder in a moment and to be hit fully with both it’s goodness and how painful it will be to move past. That’s why I try to take more pictures. That’s why I do these blog posts. To remember. To file away these moments. Because remembering is an act of honor that gives me the courage to turn my face forward and believe that our next stage together will be good and challenging and wonderful all in it’s own way.

I know the answer is yes, so I won’t even ask if any of you parents of littles out there got blindsided by the letting-go blitz. I just hope you’re finding your own ways to remember and to gain the courage to fall forward. Letting go. Leaning in. And having a million silent “thank-you” prayers in between.

5 thoughts on “Letting Go and Falling Forward

    • Thanks Hill! I was actually thinking that it’s a little risky for me to put thoughts like this out there since I’m discovering what I actually think as I’m writing them, and hitting that “post” button before I sit on my thought nest longer. Thanks for validating the process.

      • I loved this too! So nice to read this as Emmitt just turned 1 and I had so many similar thoughts. Of course I want him to continue to grow and learn new things, but a part of me aches at the same time. You put it all perfectly. I so enjoy reading your blog. You are a wonderful writer and clearly a wonderful mama, wife and friend 🙂

      • Thanks for the vote of confidence, Grace! And happy birthday Emmitt! Did you ever imagine we’d have such incredible kiddos? Also, will you please put a photo/video tour of your home on your blog? You have such a fun style, I’m sure it’s incredible and I want to snoop!

  1. I haven’t even really met this baby boy yet, and I already feel that way. I know when the time comes I’ll be glad to have him in my arms instead of in my belly, but I am already sad that there will come a day when I can’t feel his kicks and flips inside. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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