A Lesson in Letting Go of Something Good (for Something Better)
This week I’m sending one of my kids off to school for the first time. She’s 9. Like her sisters, she’s been home for all of her school years. She’s excited. We’re excited. But it didn’t quite start out like that.
You see, I’ve been working overtime for this kid, from the beginning. When she was little, we knew she was quirky. She piled all the clothing onto her head and the rest of her body was usually stark naked. She fell in love with a tiny blue doll boot that lived in her mouth.
My husband said she was eccentric and it tickled me to think of her as a miniature Howard Hughes, with a cigar, brilliant but elusive…until I learned more about Howard Hughes.
When she got older, we learned she was not neurotypical. She learns differently, and processes emotions differently. There are a host of official names for these things, but the experience in our home was just…Wow, this. is. hard.
These challenges paired nicely with my Type A personality. You’ve got problems to solve and I am great with finding answers. I was in full on mama bear mode, for years.
And then last year my body told me in no uncertain terms, “I’m not having fun anymore. Your stress and fix-it-ness is killing me.” Not to mention, I felt for the first time that I was truly out of options.
Several professionals had told me to put her in school, but I just didn’t want to. I wanted to be the answer. I wanted to keep her close. I knew there was something else around the corner we could try to help her learn.
But this time, there wasn’t something else for me to try. It was time to let go.
Giving Up Misplaced Hopes is Crazy Hard.
Honestly, it felt like death to me. I grieved giving up teaching this child. I grieved what felt like the loss of the huge investments I had poured into her education, with little to show for it. I grieved because I felt like I had failed. And I was just sad to lose that time with her.
But I choose to move on with hope for the next step in her journey. Because I know deep down that God’s got her. He has since the day she was placed into our family at 5 days old. He is not going to let her down. He’s the ultimate mama bear.
Letting Go Is NOT the Same Thing as Failure.
This isn’t really about homeschool or traditional school after all. It’s about what we perceive to be best for our kids, for their development, for their future. And even our A+ efforts, our best interventions, are not always going to keep them from struggle or from heartache.
So this is my encouragement to you when things just aren’t going well, or when a new season beckons, or when your best work didn’t produce the results you had hoped for – it’s okay to let go of the burden you are carrying.
You are still there, in the fight, as their parent. But you are not their end all, be all. You were never meant to be.
In the waiting and the discerning, take a step back and a deep breath. Sometimes it’s actually what you need to be able to see a new pathway for them. Sometimes it’s a reminder to just love on them, right where they’re at, instead of always fixing.
Taking a Leap of Faith Makes Space for Better Things to Come.
Or maybe your burden isn’t about your kids at all. If everything in your life is pointing to a change – to take on a new job, or go to a new state, or to tackle a scary new creative endeavor that’s been growing inside of you – give yourself permission to make that tough choice. Leaving one thing for another is not failure. It’s just a change.
Changing our paradigm can really hurt, but it just makes space for the bigger things to come.
So if you see me at the school drop off line, blubbering, No I don’t have a kindergartner going to school for the first time. I have a fourth grader. And they are happy tears, mostly.