I am proud to introduce a new column to Madame Deals! I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!
After spending a considerable amount of time trying to come up with an idea for this week’s article I took a break and wandered over to the wonderful world of Facebook to snoop around to see what my friends were up to. It’s been a very long two weeks for our family. My husband has been out of town most of that time, only being home on the weekends. This past weekend my daughter and I travelled to a university for her to compete for a full scholarship and my son was sick most of the week. Needless to say, my brain and my body have been on overload. As I read through various posts from friends and family one in particular caught my eye. It was from a friend and mother to a little girl in my preschool and immediately it spoke to my heart. Whenever I thought of this woman I never saw a lot of similarities between us; until now. Her post on her Facebook wall referred to a recent walk she took with her children. Her daughter wanted to ride her bike down the big hill and while she tried to let her go, she couldn’t seem to force her hand to let go of the bike. With her daughter yelling “let go mommy, let go mommy” she felt her heart saying “no, I will never let go” She goes on to write that the following day she registered her little girl for kindergarten. She just isn’t ready to let her go quite yet. I knew in an instant that we do in fact have something in common. While being at very different stages of motherhood, we are both facing the fact that our little girls are growing up and we must let them do it. We have no other choice.
As a young girl I always knew I wanted to be a wife and a mother. I never imagined my life without either and have always known how blessed I am to be both. When David and I became engaged and planned to marry we would often talk of children. We knew we would become parents eventually, but decided to wait a few years before starting a family. Four years after we married, our sweet little girl was born. David cut the cord and placed her on my chest. She was the most beautiful sight I had ever laid my eyes on. She was going to be mine forever. She would love me and always be my girl. While that remains true, the circumstances of life have changed just a bit. I never factored in how much it was going to affect me when she prepared to leave home. Three years after Melinda was born I became pregnant and began to prepare for baby number two. Sadly four months into the pregnancy, something happened and our baby was gone. I had a miscarriage. As I sat there on the floor with my sweet little girl in my lap trying to put into words what had happened and that our baby had gone to Heaven, she wrapped her little arms around my neck and said “it’s o.k. mommy, you still have me, I’m not ready to go to heaven yet.” Once again, I knew my little girl was going to be mine forever.
Time marched on and somehow my little girl went off to kindergarten and her little brother was born. So excited to be a big sister, she requested that I bring him to school for show and tell. Blessed twice with beautiful children, we decided that our family was big enough and focused ourselves on our little family. Ten months after Christopher was born we moved to Georgia and I became a stay at home mom. With David working away from home, my main focus was my children. Life was simple and we liked it that way. Before we knew it four years had passed and we were moving again. This time, our move would bring us back home to Virginia. By this time Christopher was ready to start kindergarten and as I watched my little boy climb the steps of that school bus I knew somehow our life would be different. My babies were not babies anymore and while I was excited for them, I could feel my heart strings begin to stretch and cause it to ache just a bit. Knowing that we still had a lot of time before either one would graduate from high school I shoved the ache aside and continued on down my life road.
Flash forward seven years and here I sit with tears filling my eyes and a heaviness on my heart as I prepare to let my little girl go. The thing is, she’s not a little girl anymore. In a few short months my little girl will be 18 years old, select a college to attend, graduate from high school, work her summer job, pack up her belongings and head off on her own life road without me. The ache in my heart has returned and once again I am left to wonder what is next. Just like my Facebook friend, my heart does not want to let go…ever. However, logically, I know that letting go is necessary and that the life road we have been on together has a fork in it and I have to stand back and watch as she chooses which path to take. Knowing in my heart that her dad and I have done everything we can to teach, nurture and guide her we must trust that the decisions she makes for herself are best and let her go.
I know that in a few short months the piles of clothes, books, backpacks, loud music, guitar picks in the laundry and un-made beds will be gone and left behind will be an empty room full of memories. As I sat in the middle of her room recently complaining about the mess I realized that in the not too distant future I am going to miss the mess and would welcome it back if that meant my little girl would return. But my little girl is not going to return. She’s not little anymore and I have to let her go. And while I am so excited for her and the wonderful opportunities that wait for her on her life road I am not too sure what to do with myself. I don’t even remember what life was like without her or her brother. Was there ever a time that we didn’t have children? Yes, but those four years are a distant memory. What fills my memory and my heart is the time spent with my children and our family.
When we become parents we believe that there is nothing sweeter or more perfect that our newborn babies. There is nothing more wonderful than holding your baby in your arms while he or she sleeps. Now as I tip toe into that messy room at night I find myself watching her the same way I did when she was an infant. The joy I have in my heart for her overwhelms me at times. This beautiful young woman laying there sleeping soundly is my girl, she will always be my girl. She’s smart, funny, talented, loving and full of compassion for everyone around her. She’s the best parts of her dad and I and she is ours. As I think back over the past 18 years, I come to realize that I’ve been letting go since the day her daddy cut the cord and placed her on my chest. And while letting her go is going to be so very hard, I know that my heart strings will never break and that unlike the cord that was cut the day she was born, they will stay connected to her forever. I am reminded of a mother bird who teaches her baby how to fly. She pushes them out of the nest over and over as they learn to flap their wings and take flight. While I will never push my daughter out of the “nest” I will in the near future, open the door and allow her to walk through it and enter the world without me by her side. The time to let her go is close and I know that like the baby bird, she will spread her wings and fly and while the “nest” will be empty, my heart will be full forever.
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