Throughout our girls’ college years, we moved each of them at least three times. From home to dorm, dorm to apartment, and from apartment back home.
Today our oldest, Elizabeth, 25, moved again. This one is for real.
In fact, as I write this, she’s driving a U-Haul, towing her car, somewhere between Birmingham and Atlanta, on the way to Charleston, South Carolina. Which in and of itself is a major Mommy Freakout Moment.
But amid the anxiety is a swell of pride and a sense of excitement for her. She left our nest years ago, but today she flies far away.
Her move reminds me that our primary job as parents is to equip our children to live independently, and to prepare ourselves to loosen our grip as they pursue their dreams.
The hardest lesson for parents to learn is to hold our children more loosely with each passing year. The times we most wish to wrap them tightly in our arms to protect them from harm and struggle are the times it’s most essential to let go. It’s not easy. But I choose to be thankful — and a little proud — that we’ve raised a strong woman who can handle this challenge.
Elizabeth, a three-time marathon runner, ran the last 10 miles of her first marathon after badly spraining an ankle. Rather than quit, she kept running through the pain, and completed the race with a more-than-respectable time. She knows how to gather her strength, but rely on her faith to see her through adversity.
Not far from Aniston, Alabama, the U-Haul truck blew a tire. Every woman’s nightmare is to be stranded alone at night on a highway with car trouble, but Elizabeth kept her head, called for help, and is now on her way again, frustrated at the loss of travel time. She is strong and determined — she is not patient.
As difficult as it is to watch our children take risks, the rewards of watching them face uncertainty with courage as they run toward their dreams are manifold.
I’m letting go for real this time, and I can’t wait to see what happens next. Look out, Charleston!
Hold everything in your hands lightly, otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open. — Corrie ten Boom