Loving enough to Let Go
By cindi h
It has often been said that the hardest part of loving is learning to let go. I have watched many friends throughout the years in their struggle to hang on to their children, often resulting in the loss of what was once a special relationship. I, personally, have felt the deterioration of the familial bonds, all because my family could not let me go. My 19 year old daughter has made the life choice to move to New Mexico with her boyfriend. Both of them are in the Air Force and are planning to marry soon. The spread of this news among family and friends has not been received well. I understand the concerns, believe me, my husband and I have the same reservations about their plans, but what it comes down to is that it is HER life. We have all made bad choices in our lives and have had to deal with the consequences. That is how we learn, that is life. Unfortunately there is no handbook or crystal ball. No one knows what the future will hold and no one can know with any certainty how a decision will turn out. It's easy to conjure up the negatives in any situation, to state the possible ramifications but when we do that we are usually expressing our own personal view. What's right for one may not be right for another, where one has failed another may succeed and to attempt to persuade someone to do or not to do something using derogatory and hurtful comments is just not fair.
My family and friends feel that my husband and I have not been tough enough on her, they feel we need to be more forceful in our disapproval, One such person even suggested we issue threats in order to stop her from making the biggest mistake in her life! I say to such ignorant people, "At what cost?" I will not lose my daughter or any of my children to ignorance and nonacceptance. If this is her true desire and she believes she loves him, who am I to tell her she doesn't? How can I make decisions that will affect her life now that she is an adult? I know my child better than anyone and I know her to be very mature, considerate, strong-willed and extremely capable. The argument most often heard is that they are too young and life is too hard right now, they are not prepared for what may happen. Well I ask you, are any of us prepared? Do any of us have any clue as to how we would deal with a crisis or hardship? My answer is NO! That is what life is all about. We can only imagine how we would react to a certain situation if it presented itself but when we are actually faced with that predicament we may react contradictory to what we previously believed. I truly believe that experience is the greatest teacher. If you have a dream or desire and someone tells you you'll never achieve it, the odds are stacked against you, and you listen to their advice and stop pursuing it, you will now live the rest of your life wondering if it could have worked. That my friends is REGRET. Sometimes when an opportunity passes you by, it never makes a second visit. The not knowing is what kills a spirit. Most times we hold the visions in our minds how we want things to turn out and in our dreamy mind, they are spectacular, but we all know that seldom do our lives mimic the images in our mind. Life has a way of messing with our drimages (the minds images of our dreams). These drimages are the inspiration that drives us forward, it is the fire that keeps us moving toward a better place. When that fire and inspiration are squelched, you're left with an empty, lifeless shell.
I don't know why it is so important for me to convey my feelings on this subject. Perhaps it is because I feel the disparaging remarks are a reflection of my parenting. Of all the things I've done and haven't done in my life, the one thing I'm most proud of is the way I raised my children. I tried to instill in them a sense of worthiness, self-confidence, pride, compassion and humility. I am their greatest supporter, I will not step on their dreams or, worse yet, mock them for their attempts to pursue them. I will be there regardless of whether or not they succeed, I will cheer for their successes and I will help pick them up if they fall. I will trust them enough to make their own decisions and choices and I love them enough to let them go.
** This article was written last year. As I publish this, my daughter and her husband will be celebrating their 1 year anniversary. I know they have a long way to go but they are so happy and doing very well!!