Motherhood is lifelong journey of letting go

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 12, 2012

From the moment the umbilical cord is cut at birth, a mother begins the lifelong journey of letting go of her child.

“I think the hardest thing for a mother is to make it possible for a child to be independent and at the same time let the child know how much you love her, how much you want to take care of her, and yet how truly essential it is for her to fly on her own. It’s definitely the ‘pushing out of the nest syndrome,’ ” Madeleine Albright once said.

Author Erma Bombeck wrote in her humorous way, “I take a very practical view of raising children. I put a sign in each of their rooms: ‘Checkout Time is 18 years.’ ” Eventually, it’s time to “cut the apron strings” so we will no longer be dependent on our mothers.

Letting go happens when a mother watches other friends and family hold their newborn, as she sees her precious infant slowly passed from one set of arms to another.

Letting go continues when your toddler turns loose of the furniture or your fingers that he or she is holding on to to stand and the little one takes those first few shaky steps.

Letting go occurs the day the pre-schooler learns to pick up a spoon and feed himself or herself. Letting go takes place when a mother registers her child for kindergarten and sends her off to school for the first day.

Letting go transpires the first time your child spends the night away from home with family or friends. Letting go means letting them experience the consequences of their choices – especially when you have warned them….but still rescuing them from danger in the nick of time.

Letting go means getting out of the driver’s seat and letting them get behind the steering wheel. One of the most difficult days of letting go is watching them back out of the driveway all alone, while saying a prayer for their safety.

Letting go includes high school band trips to away games and band competitions. Letting go means meeting the guy who comes to the door to take your daughter on a date.

Letting go happens when we cannot hug our children because they go away to college, career or military in places far from home. A mother’s hug speaks love in any language. It’s been said that a mom’s hug lasts long after she lets go.

“There is eternal influence and power in motherhood,” writes Julia Beck. Proverbs 31 describes the ideal mother, “She watches over the activities of her household and is never idle.
Her children rise up and call her blessed. Her husband also praises her.”

Someone once said, “There are two lasting bequests we can give our children. One is roots. The other is wings.” Motherhood is a lifelong journey of letting your children go, so they can grow up.

Happy Mother’s Day to every mother.


Jan White is an award-winning religion columnist whose writing appears every Saturday.