While I’m on the road today, I am tickled pink to introduce you to a wonderful friend of mine, Shelly Wildman. Shelly and I were brought together in a magical way — I’m pretty sure she was searching for something about Kiawah Island and landed on my blog– and we’ve been friends ever since. Her daughters are very close to the ages of my children, and she and I always seem to see parenting and marriage issues similarly. That is precisely why I thought she’d be a fantastic guest poster during my 31 Days series, and I’m certain you’re going to appreciate her words and wisdom. Visit her site and you’ll find more of the same…she’s one wicked schmart lady. ~ Robin
The youngest of my three daughters is a junior in high school, and while I joke sometimes about never letting her leave me, the fact is, she will be leaving home. Sooner than I’d like, perhaps, but she will definitely be leaving.
What I know is this is good, this is necessary, and this is right. It’s been the mantra that I’ve recited over and over again for the past several months, if not years, as I’ve raised three daughters who are ready to leave my nest and make a difference in the world.
Last summer the oldest of my three girls moved out of our house for good. Since May she has graduated from college, started a new job, and moved into an apartment with a group of friends from school. And while it was, admittedly, a little hard for me to pack up my car with most of her personal belongings and help her move them into the city that’s thirty minutes away, I continued my mantra:
This is good; this is necessary; this is right.
Next May, my middle daughter will graduate from college, which will bring even more changes to our home. And while yet more change isn’t easy on my mama-heart (I really struggle with change), I still believe that it is good and necessary and right.
See, when my girls were very little, God began preparing my heart for these days. Maybe He knew that these days would be especially hard on me. Maybe He knew that the process of letting go would take a while for all of us, so He got us started early. I’m not sure why, but I’ve had a sense for many years that God has wanted me to be a “letting go” parent.
It’s not that I don’t love my daughters fiercely: I do. But letting our kids go and helping them prepare for life outside of our home really has nothing to do with how much we love them. In fact, I love them enough to allow them a life apart from me. I respect their ability to maneuver through life’s challenges enough to not step in every time they hit a road bump.
So as I’m in the process of letting go, I remind myself of this:
It’s GOOD for our kids to have an identity separate from ours.
It’s NECESSARY for them to know how to manage their relationships, their time, and their finances on their own.
It’s RIGHT to give our kids the freedom to move on without guilt or shame or regret.
So how do I let go? I remind myself over and over again that I have prepared them well, by God’s grace, for the days that lie ahead.
I remind myself of God’s promises to never leave them and to never forsake them.
And I remind myself often that letting go is good and necessary and right.
Shelly Wildman is a wife to one busy husband and mom to three amazing daughters. She is hardly ever late, but sometimes she might forget to pick you up (just ask her girls). With three daughters (one out of college, one in college, and one in high school), Shelly spends a lot of time laughing, eating, and shopping, but she also finds time to teach college level writing and to speak to women’s groups. Shelly dreams of living in England someday, but for now, she’ll settle for the occasional visit.
Shelly blogs at Life on the Wild Side (hellywildman.net) where she writes about family life, travel, and cooking. She is also a monthly contributor to the Mothers of Daughters blog () and a member of the Redbud Writers Guild ().