Thursday, August 20, 2009

Letting Go All Over

Yesterday, I dropped off my eldest child at 6th grade. Amid the usual back-to-school excitement, supplies, and other emotions there was a hard stone of fear sitting on my heart, and I was completely caught off guard by this.

I thought I would be consumed with anxiety for her brother, our youngest, who started full day everyday Kindergarten (Praise the Lord). He barely got a second thought for thoughts of my eldest.

She's been at this school since she was three. She knows almost every single kid in her class. Her dad works on the same campus for goodness sake.


It's sixth grade. She has a locker. A locker, people! She changes classes, every day, with a different schedule every day. She has lots of books. And a sport. And band. She will be expected to know where to be and how to get there. She has to pack her sports clothes every night. She has a mouth guard.

Yesterday she got herself from school to lunch to a field hockey meeting, to the field, to her dad's office. I cannot describe how worried I was during that period of time. I mentally paced through all the steps she would take. Get bag, eat lunch, change clothes, get to meeting, learn new stuff, meet new people, remember to go to Dad's office. CALL MOM!

I am embarrassed to admit this because of what it says about me as a parent and person. I had to wonder why I was so worried. Is it possible that I have so little confidence in her upbringing and abilities that I think she can't get across a campus by herself? That thought makes my heart stop and my eyes bug out.

Deep breath.

There might be a kernel of truth in that; I have, in the past, been known to smooth things over, make excuses, pamper and otherwise fly around her micromanaging her life. (How did I become THAT woman?). I think it's the knowledge that the next few years fly before my eyes as I watch her grow and change and become more of who she is every day, and she'll be beyond my reach. I felt an urge to bring her back to me, to hold her, to tell her things she might need to know, as if I was sending her out into the wide world unarmed.

So I promise not to pack her bag, not to bring her things she forgets, not to make excuses when she fails. I promise to listen and love and fiercely protect. I promise today to untie the apron strings and let my girl grow into the world and to be there when she stumbles.


  1. Oh Jen - what a beautiful post. I relate to this on many levels and perhaps one day I'll blog about it myself. I hope your brand new middle schooler has a fantastic year and that you do as well Mama.

  2. Just so you know, she is a wonderful young lady. There's no way that would be true without her loving mother. Never be wary of how you've raised her. After spending time with her, it's evident how important her family is to her. And from what I hear, you aren't the only one worrying about your child. It sounds like many others are dealing with this too. Just when you start to think that she can do things on her own and you aren't needed as much, you'll find that she needs you even more, even if she doesn't say it. Her need may change forms, but it's there nonetheless. I applaud you guys for raising an intelligent, confident, free-spirited girl! Kudos!!!

  3. I agree with Valerie. She is intelligent, confident and a free spirited young lady. She is CAPABLE. I know you must be so proud. I do not know her personally, only what my son says about her. He is one of her biggest fans and respects her mind and character deeply. He recognizes that she TRULY does not care what people think about her, only what she thinks of herself. That is amazing to me. A 6th grader with such a strong sense of who she is already. I wish I would have been more like her when I was her age. You have obviously done a great job with her. Sit back and watch her fly mamma. The best is yet to come!