It’s the night before dropping off our eldest to college for his sophomore year and while it’s not as tough emotionally as it was last year, it is still difficult. We have seen so many parents in our friendship circles see their kids off to adulthood the last few days. We have had conversations about the day of drop off at college, course selections, meal plans, and parking passes but the conversations that are the most powerful are when we talk about letting go.
We have done what we can to prepare them for the future and while we don’t want them to go through what we went through; they need to have their own journey. One that gives them an opportunity to grow, learn, and discover.
A journey that is full of their own choices.
A journey that is full of their own mistakes.
A journey that gives them the opportunity to see what’s next.
As we let them go and let them be their own person, make their own decisions, we can still be in a relationship with them. It just looks different. They will call us, and we will be overjoyed when they do it for the first time. We will get calls to ask us our advice about a relationship or job decision they need to make. They will reach out in crisis. They will reach out when they just need someone to listen. We aren’t saying goodbye, but we are saying we welcome the new relationship we are going to have with them.
Their journey is not about us and what we need to fulfill in their lives but what they want to accomplish and dream for their own lives. Our kids are ready for these adventures, and we should support, encourage, and love them from the sidelines. It’s no longer our game with us as their coach. They are ready for the big leagues with other coaches and other teammates.
Seeing our boy take flight gives us great pride and with that a piece of our hearts are with him wherever he goes. He is ready. We have done our job; we have prepared them for this stage. And if they fall or fail, we will be right there to help them back up if they want it.
Take the time to do your last things with them. Take that last vacation as a family. Read a book together. We did this tonight and our youngest couldn’t stop smiling. Cook their favorite meals before they go. Give them their favorite treats for the road. Make those final days special. Parents, Guardians, you can do this!
Let them GO.
Let them BE independent.
Let them FLY.
Let them BE themselves.
Let them SOAR.