Letting Go

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Next week I drop my oldest kid off at college.  How did it come to this?

I mean, I assumed she’d grow up, this should not be a surprise.  But damn Sam – I’ll be fifty this month, and she is gone.  In my mind, I am thirty-two, and she should be going to kindergarten.

She still has blonde curly hair, just like the day she entered this world.

At first glimpse, I thought Lisa had birthed a Smurf.  Her head was cone shaped, and her skin was blue.

“What’s wrong with our baby?,” I asked the nurse.  “She’s the color of Gatorade.  And her head is a triangle.”

“She’ll get her color,” the nurse assured me.  “She is the first through the birth canal.  She’s a pioneer!  Her head will smooth out.”

I was thankful I had an older brother.

I used to carry her on my shoulders.  I can’t do that anymore without risk of paralysis.

I read to her every night and most often we had a tickle party.

“Daaaaddy.  Will you tickle me?” she’d ask.

The moment I’d start she’d curl up into a ball and implore me to stop.

Even when she was older I’d pray with her each night, and we’d argue about who loved each other more.

“I love you the mostest!”

“No!  I love YOU the mostest!”

In high school, she danced like a champ, the most graceful girl on the stage.  I worked hard not to miss the special moments in her life, particularly over the past five years.  I wanted to be there since her mother couldn’t be.  I hope that one day I’ll have the opportunity to recount DJ’s life for the woman I most loved.

I was at a funeral last month for a man who was about a decade older than me.  His two daughters spoke at the service.  They both gushed about the father who had raised them.  As one shared memories of how he had parented, she said, and then he gave me wings, the greatest gift he could have given.

In theory, it doesn’t seem that hard.  She has to do all the work, all I have to do is let go.

And yet, what a scary thing to do.

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20 Comments

  1. Toughest thing to do is to let them fly. Even from a young age you want to still hold them when they’re trying to leant to walk on their own.

    This is y first time seeing Lisa’s picture. She was quite pretty.

    Reply
  2. bless you guys.

    Reply
  3. My kids are still very young (1 and 3) but I fear this coming already, but I also look forward to my husband and I “dating” again and traveling as the kids get older. Good luck to this big change in all of you’re lives!

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  4. Pam

     /  September 9, 2015

    Beautifully said. I’m right there with you. My son will turn 21 in a few months and I find myself still working on letting him “fly”. It’s hard to be both mom and dad. I know from experience. I also know from your blog that you have done an awesome job raising your girls.

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  5. Mom

     /  September 9, 2015

    It is so hard to let go. Our other choice is to do what my mom did and hold on so tightly that I wanted to get away and when I left, I never got homesick. I loved her dearly but never felt completely free because I knew she wanted me there all the time. It was hard when my boys left but I knew that when a kid gets the freedom to leave, he wants to continue to touch base and to come home just to check to see if the home base is still there. It’s a hard passage but letting go is the best thing to do for you and for the kid. It will pay dividends in years to come. You’re doing it right. Pat yourself on the back and take a little time to grieve while you’re at it. It’s all necessary. See you in a few days.

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  6. I am the daughter of a wonderful father (much like yourself), re-negotiating the parent/child relationship takes time. It is a different bond but an important one. Just wait until you are a grandparent. It really comes full circle then. I love watching my father with my son and daughter (especially) because I get to glimpse from the outside looking on what it was like when I was a little girl. It’s very powerful. I love seeing him read to her or play peek-a-boo all those moments when I was a child, I do not remember, but it set a basis for the rest of my life.

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  7. tlizzy

     /  September 9, 2015

    O i have all this to come
    My daughter is in 5th yr of juniors and shes asking to walk to school on her own…arrgghhhhh

    Reply
  8. Excuse me while I go bawl my way through a box of kleenex!

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  9. They always tell you it goes by too fast… you know, and understand what they are saying, but the day when it finally arrives, it takes you by surprise. But, the great thing is, she is soon to be independent, soon she will marry, soon she will have children of her own and you’ll have grandbabies! A whole other wonderful world God has in store for you. One where you still get to do tickle parties, and pray with the grandbabies.

    Reply
  10. Such a sweet post. They grow up so fast, don’t they?

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  11. Hi! I’m new here and this is the only post of yours which I’ve read so far, and all I can say is that yes, we do grow up fast. I can understand your feelings because I remember the look in my father’s eyes when he was dropping me off to college. His eyes followed me till the time I entered my hostel, and I am pretty sure he stood there for a while, even when I wasn’t in sight. Great fathers do give you wings, but letting go is the hardest part. Well written.

    Reply
  12. Meghan

     /  September 11, 2015

    What a beautiful sentiment. What an incredible gift to have each other.

    Reply
  13. Reblogged this on nadalusarda and commented:
    She’ll always miss the tickle party, I guess :”)

    Reply
  14. Kooky Chic

     /  October 12, 2015

    A treasured post no doubt for your daughter. Beautiful.

    Reply

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