By Laura D. Field of Reflective Tapestry of Life
So where does the time fly? The moment we bring children into the world, we are teaching and training, mentoring and encouraging, while we are adjust to each obstacle of emotions and events that impact there tender lives.
As we take the time to raise our children, putting our own needs on hold in order to give them the support they need to succeed in life, you find that some moments seem to last an eternity. Yet, most often, as we reflect in the mirror, time has never stood still. Time is fleeting and if not captured in its fullness, we find ourselves looking back realizing that time has quickly passed.
This past weekend our youngest graduated from the University of Maine at Farmington. We celebrated the joy in knowing how hard she worked to overcome a learning disability in order to maintain a 3.5 GPA. She had trials that inflicted heartache and pain, she endured challenges many other students were unaware of, and yet the moments of accomplishments built on her self-esteem and desire to do even more.
As Jennifer graduated, one of the things she acknowledged was the support of her family. Between David and I, her sisters and grandfather, she was always able to call at a moments notice and share in her concern for the day. The bonus she experienced was full transparency from each of us.
In order to prepare a child for the world, one needs to not only be encouraging, but also honest in our responses. She appreciated that each of us would listen, provide some honest insight, and sometimes have to tell her to “Chill”!! What she learned is that the world does not revolve around her, as many youth (some adults) would like to believe, and accepting that all situations have two sides.
She learned that kindness, compassion and hard work has its rewards, yet at the same time discovering that one needs to develop the art in avoiding the manipulators of the world. And although conflict resolution was part of her upbringing at home, she discovered that the world is not prepared to resolve issues. She found this to be one of the most challenging obstacles, discovering that many are unable to discuss and resolve misunderstandings, and found that many would not accept accountability for their actions.
As a mother, I saw how her mind grew beyond the little girl we raised at home. She has always been a tender spirit with a driving force of desire to reach places she only dreamed of as a child. Now that she has reached her 1st educational goal of obtaining her BA in Psychology, she leaves the comfort of home and college life, to experience the life of those who live in NYC. Will she remain in the city is not yet determined. What really matters is that she experience unknown possibilities and take flight towards her dreams. If she finds it is not the right place, we as parents will support her with each chosen step she takes.
Our children make mistakes, sometimes the same ones we warned them about during their growing years, reminding ourselves of our own. Yet, mistakes are part of life’s lessons. As a mom, I learned quickly that in order for our daughters to conquer their goals and reach their need for independence, I had to step back and allow them to make choices. Many times it tore at my heart, yet never once did it break it or allow me to be disappointed in who they were. Instead I choose to be there when they fell.
Letting go was difficult for me. My job as a mom, along with all the teaching and nurturing, was to protect. In raising our girls, I always provided them the freedom to express their feelings and opinions as long as it was done with respect. The day one daughter shared “Mom, I love you and know that you care, but let me make my own mistakes. I know I will fall, but allow me to learn from falling” was the day my eyes were opened to the reality that I did my job. Now my job was to watch their wings pull completely out of the cocoon of safety, in order for them to take flight.
What has amazed me in stepping back was that in allowing our daughters the freedom to make choices, I myself learned the freedom of letting go. I watched mistakes transform from challenging obstacles, to opportunities for them to use their strength to overcome and endure. When they need a listening ear I am always there. When they ask for advice, they know that I will be honest and share what I would do, but also remind them that my choice might not be their own.
We were entrusted to care, nurture and prepare our children for life outside the family womb of dependent security. Watching them flourish with independent strength and endurance, with ambition and hardworking values, has made me realize that our job is complete in that segment of parenting. By letting go, their identities that express love and compassion for others have strengthened, becoming the self-sufficient women they were designed to be, revealing their true identity.
Laura – Blogger, paid Freelance writer