The balance between control and letting go

June 17, 2015 |  Category:   life parenting

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It’s a pretty great thing when you witness for the first time, sheer joy from your child when she gets something that she really really wanted. Not talking about toys or material things, but something that she worked for or achieved. It’s like the first peek into adulthood, really, and a next level of pride that you maybe haven’t experienced before as a parent. Why this, why now? Because it’s her achievement and victory, not yours, and she gets to share it with you and not the other way around.
 
There’s only 7 more days left in the school year and you know by now that when June rolls around, it always bittersweet around here. Another grade, another chapter done, and as the kids get older and the grade numbers get higher, it’s starts to feel like a countdown of sorts to the number of years that we have left with them before they go to college. This year, in particular, is a big year as we transition to middle school so the end of school year activities are even more loaded with sentiment. There’s also going to be a graduation. I still remember how sad the last day of preschool was for us, mostly the parents, because it’s a big change for us too as you leave one community for another. Even though it’s a big change for the kid and all the upcoming transitions might seem daunting, she isn’t sad to say good bye to the school she spent the last 6 years of her life in because she’s way too excited about middle school and all the newness surrounding it. That’s admirable for someone so sentimental like me because I know she has her head in the future and not stuck on what’s already behind her.
 
It’s hard to know when to step in and when to step back, but it’s time now to step back a bit and let the kid make her own mistakes. Middle school is a bit like training wheels on a bike. You’re there in the background if you need to catch them, but they need to navigate through these changes themselves. For them, it’s riding the line between being a kid and a young adult. Depending on the day, she might feel one way more than the other. For us, it’s riding the line between control and letting go. It’s uncomfortable, but anything involving growth and change always is.
 
But first…summer.

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  • Brandi June 17, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    Beautiful, Jenna.

  • Hayley June 17, 2015 at 8:45 pm

    They are growing up so fast!

  • linda June 19, 2015 at 2:43 am

    Middle school was one of the best years of my life! The awkward experiences of after school dances, lockers, crushes, and forming some of the best and lasting friendships ever.

  • Janine June 20, 2015 at 5:31 am

    This is, as always, a beautifully written reflection. My daughter recently turned 13 and was quite frightened about it (despite acting like a teenager for years!). I’m actually enjoying this period of her life just as much as all the others although it can be hair-raising at times – her cycling to school, meeting her friends in town on her own, dip dying her hair, trying to microwave metal pans etc But I love seeing her try to make sense of the, sometimes dark, world, learn grown-up stuff like how elections work and manage her social life. And I’m enjoying all her totally independently made cakes (but not the mess).
    My son is nearly 10 and , maybe because he’s the youngest, I’m already mourning the loss of his early childhood even though he’s still deliciously cuddly and cute. I just know it won’t last much longer. Sigh.

  • Sora June 23, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    I hope middle school is all that your daughter hopes it to be. I know it’s an important time for all kids both developmentally and otherwise — a big step for sure and no longer considered a “kid.” I guess most of parenthood is about letting go and I feel like I have to fight that urge every single day to step in. A big learning lesson for all. You are right, it’s all about just being there if they need you.

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