My daughter, who I've been writing about in this column for over ten years now, just got her drivers' permit. I took her to the DMV yesterday and watched her take her written test. We high-fived and jumped up and down when she passed. And then we went driving around a parking lot. My baby is not a baby anymore.
My son, who I've also been writing about for over ten years, just got mad at me for the first time for walking into his basketball practice to pick him up. Apparently that embarrassed him. Apparently I should've waited in the car even though practice had gone fifteen minutes over. My baby is not my baby anymore.
(In case you're wondering if time flies…yes, it does.)
So I'm now working on letting go, something I have no desire to do whatsoever.
What I want is for my kids to stop growing up. What I want is for everything to stay the same, for just a little while please. What I want is for neither of my kids to know how to drive, for both of my kids to light up when they see me.
Because here's the thing. I remember growing up and moving out. I remember saying goodbye to my mom when I went off to college and how she clung to me a little longer than I clung to her. I know the feeling of no longer feeling, at the ripe old age of 19, that I needed her as a mother figure anymore. That I was all set, good to go.
And I am so not ready for my children to feel that way about me. I know it's inevitable. I know it's natural. But I don't want it.
But even though I don't want it, and even though I may fight it emotionally and deep down and with my friends, I will walk through intentional acts of letting go with my kids. I will take my daughter driving, a lot. I will smile when she slams on the brake, and I will ask if she wants to drive around the parking lot one more time. I will not walk up to my son when he's with his friends. I will smile from across the room, but stop yelling "go, baby!" when he gets the ball during one of his games.
In other words, I will start stepping back. I will start handing them the keys in all areas of life. It will kill me, but I will do it. Because that's what mothers do.
(c) Elisabeth K. Corcoran, 2012
Elisabeth is mom to Sara (15) and Jack (13). She loves spending time with her kids, her friends, reading and writing. She is the author of At the Corner of Broken & Love: Where God Meets Us in the Everyday (Westbow), One Girl, Third World: One Woman's Journey into Social Justice (Kindle, Amazon), He Is Just That Into You: Stories of a Faithful God who Pursues, Engages, and Has No Fear of Commitment(WinePress), In Search of Calm: Renewal for a Mother's Heart (Xulon), and Calm in My Chaos: Encouragement for a Mom's Weary Soul(Kregel). All these books can be purchased on Amazon.com in paperback or Kindle.
You can follow her on Twitter at ekcorcoran or friend her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/people/Elisabeth-Klein-Corcoran/1301703500.
Watch Elisabeth and her friends spread hope through Africa with Samaritan's Purse at http://www.vimeo.com/7919582.
Elisabeth is a proud Member of Redbud Writer's Guild (www.redbudwritersguild.com).