Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Eventually, they will take flight . . .

by Kim

"How did it get so late so soon?
It's night before it's afternoon.
December is here before it's June.
My goodness how the time has flewn.
How did it get so late so soon?"
- Dr. Suess

This past week I went to the nursery to look for butterfly weed (milkweed) to attract Monarchs to my garden. And along with that was the hope of watching the stages from egg, to larva, to caterpillar to the miraculous transformation into a butterfly.

I have to say I attempted this a couple of years ago, but much to my dismay I had a catastrophic event when I had sprayed mosquito fog before I had even realized there were two caterpillars hiding under the leaves. To say the least, they died almost immediately and I felt horrible. Having contaminated the plant I threw it away, but never could find anymore that season.

Well, not only did I find some this year, I brought home a few hitch hikers! So exciting . . . to be able to do my part to help the Monarchs. To feed them and watch them grow, and to try to keep them safe so that they can fulfill their purpose. But it can be a bit stressful too, so many things can go wrong. Some things that you don't have any control over.

And you know what? Parenting is kinda like that. Yep, it's just like that. It's exciting . . . and scary all at once. But it's also a huge responsibility as well as a privilege, to be entrusted with a tiny new life. To nourish and keep them safe. To teach them the values of right and wrong and to understand what it means to have integrity. To be independent and think for themselves. And, for them to have compassion and empathy for others, and to know unconditional love.

When they handed me that little bundle for the first time, my heart was filled with a joy I have never known and my life hasn't been the same since. Its been better. Its been hard. And at times it has taken my breath away both in happiness and sadness. When they handed me that bundle, 18 years seemed like an eternity!

That eternity has just landed on my doorstep . . . (uninvited I might add)

My daughter turns 18 next month . . .

She will be graduating . . . and going to college.

As much as part of me wants to keep her here in our nest, safely tucked inside, the other part of me knows that was never part of the plan. Our children don't really belong to us, they are just of us and it's our job from day one to prepare them for a life not without us, but away from us. In the process we learn just as much or more from them on this journey as they do in what we try to teach them.

I have had the honor of watching her grow both physically and spiritually, emotionally and intellectually, from a baby, to almost 18 years old. And just like the caterpillar I have witnessed a miraculous transformation. Now she will set out on a new adventure to follow her heart and dreams and to explore the world in a new way. And now I have to learn to explore my world in a new way too.

The fasten your seat belt sign just came on for this mamma. There is a little turbulence in the air.

I knew from the first time I held her that this day would come, but thinking and doing are two different things.

And one day, poof, right before my eyes her wings emerged, ready I am not.

Eventually we have to let go, eventually, they will take flight.

Yes, how did it get so late so soon?


Sarah Huizenga said...

Just wait she will soar to amazing heights in the next few years while she is away. You raised her well and it will show as she grows on her own.

kelly said...

oh kim...yes. living it out myself. you said it so well here. but what a joy it is to watch them soar. :)

Carol said...

When I dropped my daughter off for the first time I kept chin up all the way. But then walking back to may car, I got a text from my friend who was also dropping her son off. She texted, "where did 18 years go?" I immediately burst into tears and had to sit on a bench near my car for quite a while before I could drive home! And the my son followed a year later. But its been quite a trip watching and no longer directing, as they negotiate their paths in life. I am so proud of them!
Of course you are sentimental and curious moving forward. You are creative and loving and appreciative and energetic, and your new stage will be wonderful, and you will be wonderful in it.Concentrate on the gratitude, sweetie - they are not disappearing, they are emerging! Congratulations!

heyjudephotography said...

Yes, yes, yes. What Sarah and Kelly and Carol said. Yes to all of that. Change is scary, especially when it involves letting go - of them physically, and also letting go of the control we have over their lives. But it is also so amazing to see how much they grow in such a short time. It seems like just yesterday that we packed up everything and took our first son away to college. Like Carol, I kept my chin up, swallowing hard as we said goodbye. It was when our younger son (then 5) burst into tears saying goodbye to his big brother that I totally lost it. Oh well, the best layed plans. And anyway, who said we can't cry anyway??? He's ready to graduate from his first 4 years of schooling this May. How DID it get so late so early?? You, my dear, will do wonderfully as you watch your daughter grow and learn, and become a fabulous young woman right in front of your eyes. Give her the space she will need and want, and she will always come back home to you. Hugs!

http://vivhalliwell.com said...

Oh so love what you have written, my grown up kids don't live far from me but I know that soon that day will come when they will fly away....

CarolHart said...

Such a great post. Love the metaphor between your daughter and the butterfly, and yes, it does get too late too soon. I've always believed that the Dr. Suess stories are not for the children as much as they are for the parents!

terriporter said...

Oh, Kim, you have spoken to the heart of every mother who is reading this! So hard to let them go. And it didn't get easier for me as I had to do it all over again with the next two. I always think of the Elizabeth Stone quote: "Making the decision to have a child - it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” Painful to let them go but wonderful to watch them fly. And the reward for me is that now I have three men who I not only love but love being with. They are not only my sons but my friends. Your photos are beautiful and perfect for your post.

Deanna said...

Oh sigh...I always love reading your wise, thoughtful words. Today's post was no exception. Beautifully written along with stunning photos. Hugs to you my friend, as you let go and watch your daughter fly!!

Sherri B. said...

Kim, I completely relate to what you're dealing with...I was in the same exact situation three years ago. You can never prepare yourself fully for that moment when you drop your child off at campus and then walk away. That first year was very tough for me at times, and it's important to be gentle with yourself and immerse yourself in the things you love. There will definitely be an adjustment period, but you will get there...the wonderful part will be watching your daughter's independence grow as she becomes more and more of a grownup. You'll feel such pride as that happens...I'm sending you good thoughts and {{{hugs}}} of support, from one Mom to another! Your photos are beautiful, as always.

Dotti said...

Beautiful post, Kim! I've been there, done that. I'm not going to lie: it was awful. I'm glad I only had to do it once. I have one daughter, an only. We've always been very close and it was hard on her and my husband. We had a 6 hour drive home and I cried for 4 hours until I was dry. Yup. But onward we went and it is wonderful to watch them take flight, emerge ... soar, just like the Monarchs. You'll be in my thoughts these next few months. Keep me posted. xoxo

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