It was was a hot August day, two years ago this summer. Our daughter was going to Auburn University and going through rush, so she had to move in a little early. It was such a hot day. My poor husband and children were drenched with sweat. I was busy inside the new room (on the 3rd floor!) trying to unpack her and get all those details into place. Did it really matter that we had coordinating dust ruffles? I felt a lump in my throat. There will be an empty bed at home while she sleeps here tonight, in her new home. My eyes welled up with tears. Did I teach her enough about housekeeping, washing clothes, balanced meals? “Well, it’s too late,” I thought, as I tried to brush the thoughts aside. This was where God led her, and she was going to be okay! I needed to let her fly! It was time.
It was the end of a very long day, and we were all worn out. I could feel how excited she was to be with her new bestie and for this new chapter to start. Didn’t she JUST start 9th grade? Where had the time gone? Was she really prepared for this big world? Had I trained her in wisdom and stature and showed her how to be discerning? I was really going to miss watching her dance. I told myself, “STOP! She belongs to God. He will meet her needs. You’ve done your job as Mom. It’s time to let go.” (Visualize Finding Nemo when Dori and Marlin are in the whale and Dori says, “It’s time to let go,” and she releases herself to the bottom of the whale’s throat.) It was time.
I won’t lie and tell you I didn’t cry big, ugly tears, because I did! This was life, and I had to let it happen. I thought to myself, “Let go and release your emotions for that bird of yours who is no longer under your wing, but flying, and doing it beautifully.” There would be lots of phone calls, some visits, text messages, but also space. Space to let her grow. I hope I have balanced that part well. I aim to. I still can choke up when she leaves.
Since it has been two years now, there is a lot of reflecting to be done. How has my daughter done on her own, and how have I done, honestly? First of all, she has flown beautifully. I have watched her blossom into a young lady who uses her time well, has become even more organized than she was, and has handled all the pressures before her very well. She has worked so hard to keep her scholarship, even though we’ve told her IT IS OK if she loses it. She is self-motivated, and that has benefited her so much, as obviously we aren’t there to keep on top of things . . . and we aren’t supposed to be. She is really the most loyal and trusted friend. She has found her niche there. Those are her people now! I have loved hearing about her new friends since day one!
How I have grown? I love seeing her flourish, so that encourages me. I pray for her every day, for her class work and her walk with the Lord. That really makes me feel that Jesus is in control here, certainly not me. It has also prepared me well for our son leaving the nest. I can do this with the second child! I’ve survived! I have gained confidence in the area of letting go. Children are a gift from the Lord — a gift — but they aren’t to be held on to so tightly that they can’t breathe.
If I could give a little advice to parents coming up on one leaving the nest, I would first say leave it all in God’s hands. Let go. You aren’t in control, He is. It’s great to visit, but give them some space, too. Let them spread their wings and really soar — this time, without you. They will be ok, they are in His hands. And, pray. Pray every day. And ENJOY watching them soar.
Fly little birdie, fly!
Bird’s Nest by Barclay Gresham, used with permission from artist