I am in a unique season of my life, I have three children and they all vary in ages 3, 8, and 14. My oldest is starting his descent into adulthood. The plane has taken off, the ride was pretty smooth littered with a little turbulence and now we are on the slow descent where the desired outcome is him moving on into society as a productive adult.
He'll be 15 this year, he is starting 9th grade this year, it's only a matter of precious time before he hopefully moves out. While I am not wishing away this time at all, I am preparing myself for this transition. I like to think that I em enjoying this season of child rearing and am also looking forward to the next season as well.
Part of this transitional period was the decision to send our first to New York for a class trip this year. There were stipulations. He had to earn half the cost and he had to take all his own spending money. We didn't tie grades to the trip and there were some minor threats but overall we made it to this trip fairly unscathed.
Last night we drove him to the airport, both of us. I hugged him 8,657 times before letting him go through security. I told him I loved him 1,987,345 times before finally walking away. I was literally yelling from the top of the balcony as he was walking through security (not kidding).
You see, I have scary world syndrome, like bad. I have several close friends who have lost children so my zero to death happens in about 2.6 seconds. Yesterday I imagined every disaster that could take place... actually I've imagined them at least once daily since we said yes to the trip and that was at least seven months ago. His grandparents have not helped in this area either and then yesterday there was this huge mass shooting in Orlando piled on top of other shootings, rape cases, and a plethora of other disasters, the anxious part of me thought "what in the eff were we thinking?!"
The logical part of me thought he's going to be ok and if he isn't it's what has to be because you cannot keep your children in bubble wrap and never let them leave the house. It's hard isn't it? We go from caring for these precious little beings to having to let them go out on their own. Sleepovers, school, trips... the dangers just get more and more as they grow older until one day they move out and your like what? How can I control the world around you and keep you safe?!
This, for me is the hardest part of parenthood so far. I used to think it was potty training but after putting my son on a plane last night I realized it's not potty training, it's letting go.
This is my first season of starting to let go. We have a few more years until he is actually going to be graduating and moving out and then I will have two more seasons of it, one with my daughter and then with my baby boy.
It's a hard season and it is a fulfilling season. I cried last night, not because he was leaving or because I was anxious but because I was overwhelmed with excitement and joy for him. I know he is going to have the time of his life. I know this experience will change and mature him in ways staying home never could.
I know this season for him will be one of learning and growing and will prepare him for life after us. It helps that I get to track him on his iPhone.
Maybe I am not quite to the letting go part but at least I am taking steps to get there.