A mother’s heart holds love, loss

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Choosing to let go is a daily decision

By Amy Walker

There are moments in my journey of motherhood when I wonder if I am cut out for it. Of course, there are times when I am frustrated, weary and I want nothing more than to lie down and sleep for a couple hundred hours. I somehow get through this.

But what I am afraid I am not cut out for are the moments your heart holds so much love and loss you can hardly bear it. The times in which the weight of motherhood feels so beautiful and painful you can barely breathe. And one of those is the day that calls for letting your child go, when all you want to do is hold onto them a moment longer.

A year ago I was doing the seemingly impossible: walking my daughter to kindergarten. Somehow we had made it from baby to toddler to here. It was a long walk that sunny day as I held her hand and she bounced alongside me. As we rounded the corner to the classroom, I pressed her small body tightly to me, silently offering prayers of thanks and desperation, as I readied myself to let her go and watch her walk away.

I could feel the ache in my heart, as I was aware this was one of those "letting go" times of parenthood. A major one. The ties, which kept us bound so tightly together, were again loosening and stretching. Stretching to make room for a teacher, friends and a life away from home and apart from me. I know it is a good choice for us, but something in me just wants to protect her from everything, keep her close and somehow stop her from growing up so fast.

Somewhere along the way I realized I have a daily choice to make. I can hang on to my children with all my might, fists clenched as I grip onto them out of fear and love and need. Or I can painfully, slowly open my hands and let them go, let them learn; let them live life…in all its joy and sorrow. The hardest thing to choose, of course, is to let go because this means you are no longer in control (which you really weren’t in the first place). It means you have faith that God is good and trustworthy. And for me, I have to wrestle with what “good and trustworthy” may look like and dig deep into the heart of the Father. It means you trust God will not only carry them but you as well, especially on those days when the weight of motherhood feels so heavy.

As I released the death grip I had on my daughter and watched her walk into kindergarten, I thought, “It begins.” We are now out of the gloriously difficult and wonderful time of toddlerdom and into something entirely different. Evidently, after elementary school comes junior high, high school and then possibly something like college. I have heard it rumored these years pass in a blink of an eye. And so it begins.

Time will not slow down, and before I know it my daughter will be leaving our home—her home—ready to start a life away from us, away from me. And I realize whether you are walking your child to kindergarten or college, this act of surrender is painfully similar: You hold them tight, whispering prayers in love and loss, and then you open your hands and let go.

 

Amy Walker attends Trailhead Church, a Mennonite Brethren church plant in Centennial, Colo.

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