11 Feb Why I Let Go Of My Son’s Hand
“Good parents give their children roots and wings—roots to know where home is and wings to fly off and practice what has been taught them.” – Dr. Jonas Salk
As parents, we have a weight of responsibilities bar the very basic breakdown of “keeping the children alive”. As much we try to pretend to be satisfied with “just surviving”, the reality is our inner dialogue playing out the “have they eaten enough?” “are they happy?” “are we actually moulding them into likeable humans?”. Then there is the complexity of pushing them forward whilst really, really wanting to freeze them as they are right now – with all their curiosity and co-dependence. Walking the line between holding them back, pushing them forward and trying to place ourselves in a position where we fly alongside them. Letting them be little, whilst fostering independence so that they are prepared for a time when you won’t be omnipresent.
The After Of Letting Go
As my parenthood journey extends past the five-year mark, my opportunities to ‘let go’ are getting more regular but they usually boomerang right back. With every advancement my son makes into life, he looks for nourishment in another area. He’s in a delicate place of boyhood, where sometimes his hand is there for holding and other times it’s firmly wedged in a pocket. He craves the independence that comes with running around the block on his own, while I’m still developing the coping skills to still my soul when he is out of sight and the trust that he will come back in one piece. I feel the world pulling him in and begging him to explore and my mind has to weight the promise of adventures, fun and memories against the real threat of danger, bad and even predators.
A Time To Grow
While my son is only on the cusp of this journey to independence, there will come a time when my children will push completely through into their youth – the laws of the animal kingdom dictate that says there is a time to grow up. Future advancements might come with a place of such conviction that there will be no rebound, as if these actions bring with it independent thoughts that will, one day, be cemented confidently. I am aware I am just right at the beginning of a journey that started the very first day I laid them on the playmat and encouraged them to roll over and explore. Down the line will come our policy on bedtimes, curfews, driving licenses, boyfriends, girlfriends and as they grow, we will grow as parents – our parenting will evolve to encompass our policies on each of these milestones.
Trust The Inner Voice
But while we are faced with the fears of letting physically go, I like to think we can take comfort in being there in each strive for independence our children make. Serving as their inner voice reminding them to make informed decisions, buoying them with trust that we believe in their capacity to make wise decisions and confidence in the belief that they have been crafted with the strength to survive less wise ones. In trusting our children to survive each pull, we are actually trusting ourselves that brought our children forward to this place totally equipped with the skills to safely let go.