Letting Go

6 Mar

30 Days.

What the hell?

It was a completely unintentional a 3-hour-tour-Gilligan’s-Island disappearance on my behalf. I had no idea where my motivation fell off the ship, but with the help of The Professor and MaryAnn and rest of the S.S. Minnow Crew I’m able to tap away at the keys again.

It might have been the fact that our family kept up our New Year’s Resolution and tried something completely new that inspired this post and sent me on the most anxiety-mom-crazed-roller-coaster ever. Feelings like that tend to spur inspirational writing moments.

Growth is what people call it. Parenthood, I guess.

Our new adventure last month?

Away From Home.

Letting go.

Normally my people don’t do sleepovers. It’s something that I hear other families talk about and moms share stories over the preparations, fun times, and lack of sleep. But us?

Nope.

Unless it’s family, my kids have never slept over anyone else’s house. Aunts’. Grandma’s. Cousins’.  If you’re not a blood relative my kids were not sleeping over your place. Their Dad and I are both on the same page with this. And I don’t know what it is, but for some reason we’re just like this and we’re O.K. with it.

That was until the annual Fifth Grade Outdoor Science School field trip where everyone in the fifth grade goes away for three nights and four days, accompanied by teachers and parent chaperones. My son was excited to go. Looking forward to this all year. All. Year. And then neither their Dad, nor I got selected to be chaperones.

Duuuuuuuuuuude.

Huge dilemma for me. BIG.

For most people this was an easy decision. But I struggled with it for weeks. Now I didn’t want to be that crazy parent … the one… that didn’t let her kid go on this trip. I didn’t want to be that one, where the kid is on lockdown and never experiences anything because the overprotective parent is watching them like a hawk and protecting them like SuperMan everyday. I didn’t want to be that parent. Even though every fiber of my being was like nope, you just CAN’T let him go. You can’t. You can’t!  

But I didn’t want to be that parent. I know that with the best intention they have sometimes this kind of parenting does more damage than good. I know this. I do.

His Dad and I discussed it.

And I opened the gates.

It’s been the hardest thing I had to do as a parent so far. First time ever.

Let go.

It felt like the first time he went to preschool or kindergarten and I was that parent peeking through the fence, making sure that one kid didn’t push my kid off the tricycle. That was me. I had flashbacks. But I let go.

Letting Go

🙂

 

He was so excited when we gave him the news that he could go. I got that thank-you-thank-you-thank-you-thank-you-hug-you-so-tight hug. His sister was not that thrilled as they’re pretty close buds. And me? I was wrecked with anxiety and filled with summer camp 80’s movies and wondering if some jackass kid would scar my kid for life. Other moms seemed to have it so together, while I was losing it inside.

When the day came, we walked to the front of the school and waited. All I wished for was positive vibes and good things. I hugged him goodbye, waved as the bus drove off.

I felt the ugliness in the pit of my stomach and hoped for the best.  His sister was having a hard time with it, although I put on my Mom face and told her everything would be fine and he would get the secret letter she put in his sleeping bag and he would love it and be fine.

After she fell asleep, I completely lost it.  I felt like Morgan Freeman in Shawshank Redemption the last night Andy Dufrane was there. One of the longest nights of my life.

The next morning I realized I’m completely unprepared for when he leaves for college. I’m gonna be a complete wreck. Sobbing. Weeping. Heartbroken. I can totally imagine it. It’s going to be a disaster and this in no way prepared me. Sure I wasn’t that parent that kept her kid home and deprived him of an awesome learning opportunity, I wasn’t keeping him locked away from the world. I know he has to grow and learn and get beat up by life a little bit. But inside I soooooooo wanted to be that parent.

It was a serious internal struggle.

And in the midst of this internal battle and complete breakdown he came back early. Snowstorm in the mountains. Freak storm closing down the roads forced them to come home earlier than expected. Gone just two days instead of four.

I felt like an idiot afterward, just two days. But the anxiety was real, the worry was real, the stress, the emotions. I was battling my Motherhood worst-scenarios and he came back smiling and full of hugs.

Best hug ever.

He was disappointed that the trip ended early but grateful that he at least got the chance to go.

I ended up being NOT that parent, but I struggled every minute of it. I’m gonna need some advice from the parents out there about letting go, because I know I’m gonna have to do it again and I know I’m not prepared for it. I might be better at it the next time it comes around but I’m for sure not going to be emotionally prepared for it.

The college years will be here before I know it and that part of Parenthood is going to suck. But I guess until then I’m gonna make sure to instill lessons of strength, empathy, kindness, responsibility, resourcefulness, and humor. If I’m missing something I’m probably gonna pick it up along the way, but veteran parents out there feel free to let me know.

Buen Camino my friends!

 

 

 

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5 Responses to “Letting Go”

  1. Sorryless March 7, 2019 at 4:38 AM #

    Cali,

    Such a beautiful and honest piece of writing on what it feels like to be a parent. Because they are ALWAYS going to be our babies, even when they’re all growed up.

    Love the Shawshank reference. That’s perfect.

    Don’t look at it as if you’re letting go. Look at it as you’re having given them a skill set they can take into the world and prosper on. You never stop being mom, not ever.

    Peace and love mama. You done good. 🙂

    • The Guat March 30, 2019 at 9:05 PM #

      I swear I felt like Red in Shawshank and I’m so glad you got that reference. I was like yes …. that’s exactly how I felt, and then I felt ridiculous for feeling like that later. I was a ball of emotions getting out of control. But thanks so much for your kind words. Giving them a skill set so they can take on the world DUUUUUUDE. I am on it with that. I loved that and am on mission to try and do that. Thank you for that, it was super helpful. Thanks bud, have a great weekend. 🙂

      • Sorryless March 31, 2019 at 5:41 AM #

        You KNOW it mama! 🙂

  2. My Ox is a Moron March 11, 2019 at 1:41 PM #

    You verbalized this parental dilemma perfectly. I have 6 children with only 1 left at home. I have sent 2 sons off to war. I could feel your emotions within myself as I read this. You should be so proud of yourself. It is so hard to let them go, but remember that you are the wind beneath their wings.

    It doesn’t get easier, but it does get better. Focus on their success and cry all you need to. The look on their faces when they have successfully completed whatever activity is a reward that all parents look forward to.

    They will always be our babies. Even when they have babies of their own. As they become adults, they can also become our very best friends.

    Hang in there. You sound like a fabulous mom!

    • The Guat March 30, 2019 at 9:02 PM #

      Thanks so much for reading this, as I parent I was agonizing this whole ordeal and I wasn’t sure if I was flipping out and it was normal. Everyone else seemed to have it together and I was like duuuuuuude. I’m glad it gets better, though. I’ll try to flip it and think about their successes, but I’ll probably need help with that one 🙂 THANKS SO MUCH for the advice.

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