05 November 2009

How to Let Go?

I'm being faced with a seriously painful dilemma. My teenager, whom I've both celebrated & ranted about here is thinking that she might want to go live with her father in Michigan. She's given me some rational reasons for it, and as an equally rational person I have to let her go, if that's what she wants. Her happiness & success is what matters most.

But heart is breaking. I feel like my soul is being ripped apart at the thought of it. I also feel angry. I do everything for her, take she & her friends everywhere. I try to expose her to everything so she'll be well rounded & smart. And it feels like her father will get to reap all the rewards of it.

Right now, I just can't stop the tears. She has to make the ultimate choice, and giving up that control REALLY hurts.


Kassi said...

16 and so ready for the world...so young and so naive this budding woman. Love to you as you watch her grow up.

Catherine said...

My dear Kimba...

As a not-yet-mother, not-so-teenager anymore...I can reassure you from the spot in-between that I am...and from the kind of fiercely independent daughter that I've been, that there will be many "leavings" like this...and that perhaps, it is good (albeit very hard) for you to begin this process of letting go. I know this is perhaps not the advice you want to hear...I can't even imagine how deep the pain must be of a parent who's worried about and cared for the every need and dream and desire of this person for the last 16 years, only to have her fly away. But this too is part of the fulfillment of this life you've been cultivating.

When I left for France when I was 16 for 3 weeks, or when I was 18 for college...or for France again when I was 19 for 3 months...or when I was 21 for 8 months....or when I was 24 for 2 years to Asia....I can't imagine how heart breaking it must have been for my parents. I imagine it was hard at every stage. It never quite gets "easy" to let your child go off into that "far far away"...a place where you have no more protection or hold over them. But I think you need to remind yourself that you've taught her well and that you've loved her much...and it is those things that will carry her through. She will become a successful, well-adjusted, and responsible adult because of you. At this point, part of that process is just letting her go to learn how to fly on her own...how to fall on her own...and how to use the tools that you gave her to pick herself back up, seek the resources she needs, and fly again.

I have no doubt you've been an exciting, intellectually stimulating, and loving parent. She's been very lucky to have you. Try to let her know that you trust her to make good decisions at this point, that you love her very much regardless of what she decides, and that you will always be there for her--either on the phone, or through email, or if she ever needs to come back. Sometimes, I think empowering the person to make the right decisions for themselves is the best way to ensure a good outcome. In teens...the best way to get exactly what you fear...is to tell them they "can't" and that you don't trust them to make good decisions. Then they will make exactly the ones you've taught them not to. At least...that's the way I was.

*hugs* good luck to you my dear. I'll be praying for you both!

~Your friend far away in word and in proximity...