Letting Go ~ The Hardest Part is the First Step of Walking Away

Letting go and giving up are two things that do not come easily to me. I am not built that way, especially where my girls are concerned. Yes, I give in to them almost on a daily basis but I’m talking about giving into the belief that they are not capable of anything they want or set their minds to. The letting go, I will never get any better at the letting go. But the two seem to go hand in hand. In order for them to build the confidence in themselves to know they can be and do anything, I have to remove the training wheels from the situation. The training wheels would be me. The letting go is painful. For me, letting go is the hardest part of parenting. I have proof of this, as I sat in my car in the parking lot of the preschool this morning and cried as the rain poured down all around me. It’s as if heaven itself was heartbroken or maybe that was just me. It physically hurts my heart to walk away from my children. I now know that I could never home school because if I did, when they left for college, the letting go would literally kill me. I’d be dead on the spot. I need these tiny occasions of letting go to prep me for the big ones, like college and marriage. We raise our children to leave us. This is the earmark of a good parent. The pain and guilt we feel when we leave our babies behind or don’t measure up to our impossible standards of parenting are a true sign of a good parent.

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letting go, growing up, back-to-school
It's all fun and games...

 Letting go may look easy from the outside

This morning, Abs woke up and practically sprung from the bed, but only after doing a little horizontal happy dance while screaming ” It’s my first day of COOL!” (she still has problems with those S’ but how I love her little baby talk. I savor it like fine wine.) This same morning the lump in my throat was so big, I thought it would choke me to death. We did our mandatory photo ops and first day of school breakfast. After a pep talk from her big sis, Gabs was waiting with her coat and back pack on, 20 minutes before we had to leave the house. The Big Guy drove to drop off as I sat in introspective silence. My heart was tearing away from my chest in slow painful beats. The girls were giggling and excitedly talking a million miles a minute. My heart was swelling with pride at their independence. My head was spinning and it was everything I could do not to blink, so the tears didn’t make their way to the surface and splash out of my lids revealing my secret. I knew this would be difficult but I hadn’t anticipated the magnitude of the hurt.

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letting go, walking away, preschool
..Until....

but letting go of your baby is the most difficult thing you will ever do

I made idle chit chat with the other parents to try and find some repose from the pain that the lump in my throat was causing in my heart. My words were met with the nervous laughter of Mothers about to lose their shit and collapse into collective pools of snot and tears, just beyond the preschool door. I busied myself snapping photos to commemorate the momentous occasion but that damn lump in my throat just kept growing and growing. It was so big that I felt as if it would swallow me whole at any moment. I stood there watching the whole thing take place but I was helplessly paralyzed. I wanted to run to her and scoop her up and take her home with me but I couldn’t. I had to walk away. I have a firm, never let them see me cry when dropping them off policy. I can’t. If I do, they will feel unsafe. They will wonder ” Where the hell ( yes, I am sure my kids curse in their own minds) is she leaving me? Is she coming back? Why’s she crying? It must be dangerous! Mommy! Come back!I’ll be good!!!”

The Big Guy was the one to make the decision that it was time to leave. Someone had to force me, I’m sure if he hadn’t I would have stood there frozen like a heartbroken statue for the rest of the day. I won’t lie. I was angry that he was making me leave. Who the hell did he think he was? This. is. MY.BABY!! I watched as he walked over to her and gently hugged and kissed her goodbye, with an “I love you” and “We’ll be back soon.” My eyes were stinging. I snapped photos. Then I swallowed hard, took a deep breath and held my baby girl in my arms before I left her for the very first time. I gave her a thousand kisses and told her how proud I was of her, how much fun she would have and how much I loved her. Then I turned and, as if in slow motion, walked away, looking back over my shoulder to drink in the face of my beautiful little girl. I was blinded by the tears that were filling my vision. She looked unsure but excited, as I suspect we all look on those very important days of our lives… first days, your wedding day, the day you give birth to your own child. Beginnings are exciting, goodbyes are sad but the in between is where all the living takes place. I swallowed harder than I’ve ever swallowed before to hold back that gargantuan lump in my throat, for fear that the next breath could bring a flood of tears and Mommy blubbering.

letting go, growing up, back-to-school, daddies, daughters

Letting Go ~The Hardest Part is the First Step of Walking Away

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Comments (14)

This is a phenomenon that has always intrigued me, as I truly don’t understand what all the fuss is about.

I mean, I get that it’s a milestone. I do. But before I started working in the city, I was the dropper-off and picker-up of my son at preschool. And I’d see these moms (I’m not generalizing, it’s just that 95% of the parents there were mothers) literally weeping and hovering and refusing to leave the school. And I’d wonder why.

I made sure my son was settled and knew where to go, directed him into a group of kids to play with, gave him a big hug and kiss and that was it. I left immediately without making a big deal of it because I didn’t want to freak him out and—if I’m being honest—because it wasn’t that big of a deal.

It’s preschool. You’ll be back in a few hours.

I’m not trying to criticize those who get emotional (my wife was among them), but I am wondering if you think it’s a gender thing. The dads I’ve talked to didn’t think this was a huge deal but the moms seem to get REALLY emotional. Is this just a difference between how men and women think?

I think , for me anyways, it’s because my life has revolved around them exclusively for the past few years of my life. It’s scary letting go of not only knowing my place in the family dynamic but when you spend 24/7 with someone..it’s hard to let them go. It’s hard to accept that I have to trust someone else with my child because I KNOW no one will watch them as well as I will because I have a vested interest. Shhh, do you hear the helicopter hovering above us? LOL

Preschool is just the beginning of the end. What I mean is that it is their first taste of independence and they will be changed forever. They are no longer your “baby”. I don’t know that it necessarily has anything to do with being a man or a woman, I think it has more to do with the parent child dynamic.
You are lucky that it wasn’t a big deal for you. I don’t ever get upset in front of my girls, for the very reason that you said and I don’t weep every time I take them to preschool (LOL) it’s just that first day. I think it was harder this time because I knew it was the last time ( well, as far as I am planning:)

Such a BEAUTIFUL post. Totally captured exactly how I felt leaving both my boys for the first time. Beginnings are exciting, goodbyes are sad, but its the in between where all the living takes place. This is the most beautiful thing I’ve heard all year.

Awww…I know it’s hard the first time. But for me, it gets easier with each passing year. It helps that my boys love school, love their teachers and love having something they can call their own.

I can’t think of any better way to articulate it than how you did. My son has not started kindergarten yet (not till next year) but he goes to daycare everyday. It’s hard for me to imagine what the first day of school will feel like for me because I don’t spend everyday with him. I am “used” to leaving him in someone else’s care everyday. It’s more than just the leaving, it’s everything that you said. It’s marking the start of this journey. Of all these other times my children will leave. And hopefully always come back home.

I felt the same way dropping off Little H to her first day of preschool. She was totally fine and I was worried she would cry or look to me with needing eyes. She didn’t.

I went home feeling weird and sad. I finally got 2 and a half hours to mysel alone and it felt weird and not the same.
I found myself looking at the clock the whole time and couldnt wait to go back and pick-her up.

Motherhood, a wonderful thing. Makes you feel every emotion in the book and then some!

This made me cry!!!!! BiP goes to daycare for 3 mornings a week and I make DH take her because I hate leaving her but needs must. I can only see it getting harder for me … some people don’t get it but like you I’ve been 100% devoted to her since she was born – give me 3 hrs to myself and I miss her – I have forgotten what its like to have ME time.

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