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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

At Some Point, You Gotta Let Go

In an instant, with a single glance over my shoulder, my daddy's hero status lay in tatters on the cold, hard pavement, just next to my skinned knee. I still remember the sense of exhilaration I felt just seconds before my fall: the wind blew through my hair; my hands clutched the shiny handlebars oh, so tightly; my legs pumped madly at the pedals.

I rode on top of the world, trusting my daddy to help me stay balanced. The trees whizzed past while my yellow jacket flapped behind me in the breeze. I could do anything. When I glanced behind me to grin triumphantly at my daddy, I expected to see him running alongside me, his hand ready to catch me if I wobbled.

Instead he stood a block back, calling out encouragement, but so very, very far away. I panicked. And then I tumbled. My daddy promised he wouldn't let go, but he did. And I felt so betrayed.

feeling betrayed, as you can see
Iwakuni, Japan 1978

wanting a little TLC after my fall
Iwakuni, Japan 1978

My momma says it took me hours to forgive, days to ride alone and weeks to understand why my daddy stopped running that day. Still, I don't think I ever truly understood until my daughter - my spunky, adorable little Tongginator - entered my life.

As a parent, you can hold on as long and as tightly as you'd like. You can help your child even when others raise their eyebrows and laugh at your antics. You can hover and stress and pray and fret... but at some point, your child has to find her balance and pedal solo.

learning to walk at 17 months, summer 2005

At some point, you gotta let go.

25 comments:

Aunt LoLo said...

Ok, maybe I need more sleep in my life, but I'm *this* close to crying. This isn't what I was expecting, and it's beautiful and oh-so-poignant.

And I'm terrified of the day that I have to let go. It's one thing to let them feed themselves, pick out their clothes or tie their own shoes - those embarassments will fade quickly. I'm terrified of life-altering-you-can't-fix-it choices...and I pray we're doing this right!

Gail said...

And it's the hardest thing as a parent that I've ever done...to let go. Beautiful TM. Thanks for sharing. :)

Lynn said...

So true. The letting go part is not fun for us as parents for sure.

2nd Cup of Coffee said...

It's difficult letting go when they're leaving for college.

Andrea said...

It is so hard to let go. There's a great book by Roxanne Henkle "Learning to Fly" that all mom's should read.

Scribbit said...

You're so right--most of what my parents did I never really understood until I became a parent myself.

CC said...

awwwwwwwww! True, true.

Kristy said...

I can remember things exactly like that and now I am living it. It is so emotional to me, our baby is 16, and she is pulling away more and more everyday. Isn't this what we want them to do? Dont we want them to be independent? YES, but it is so hard to let them go. I am learning to Let Go and Let God.

Love, Kristy

Heather of the EO said...

SO true. Letting go and then watching the falling and the picking up again is just so...hard.

Great post!

Half Gaelic, Half Garlic! said...

Letting go is definitely hard to do....something I always struggle with!!

Cute and creative picture.....and as always....GREAT POST!

Lisa

jennifer said...

What a cute post. Love that you have a picture to go with it!!

discombobulated said...

I think you should win.

Sharie said...

My sister couldn't let go - my other sister had to teach my niece how to ride her bike:) Now it's driving time and we're not doing much better!

Colleen said...

Wonderful post. Letting go is so hard. As they grow you will cross this bridge a million times and on different levels. I still have trouble letting go and my boys are grown. It's a Parent thing : )

Patricia/NYC said...

Ain't that the TRUTH!!
I've been struggling with this like crazy lately.

Wonderfully written!

Janet said...

That was really good. And OH SO TRUE! I'm not ready! AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Suzy said...

I'll have to share the story of how I broke my arm the first time I rode solo (ok, the riding wasn't the issue, it was the stopping) some day. In the mean time, let's just say I'm a little too trusting...

The Source said...

Great job on this post! I loved it! It isn't easy learning to let go of our children, but it's something we have to do.

Now I gotta ask...what's up with the wooden spoons??

Debbie said...

The problem is, we have to let go over and over again! I'm getting ready for a big letting go (college) and it is so hard.

Patty O. said...

So true. And I personally am finding this the hardest part of parenting: knowing when and being able to let go a little and let my kids learn for themselves, and possibly fall. This is sooo hard!

Kayce said...

Delurking too to say hi and thanks for stopping by to delurk yourself. :)

Love this post. I'm having a very hard time letting go right now of my soon to be freshman. For me I do little bits at a time, but man it's HARD!

I'm glad to finally be unlurked! :)

The Byrd's Nest said...

Letting go is so very hard...that is why leaving my precious Elisabeth behind when we move away is going to rip my heart out!
Love you....

gritandglory.com said...

beautiful.

i appreciated this post...

MoziEsmé said...

A bike is such a symbol of independence! I'm not sure which is hardest - being let go as a kid, or letting go as a parent...

Peanut said...

The holding on and letting go... that's the balance that is so hard for me to figure out.

KK just got her first bike on Saturday. We're letting go a little more...

(The wooden spoons for helping baby walk: genius!)