How do you know when it is time to let go??? Since the day our kids were born, we watch their every move, making sure they are safe and happy. When you have a kid like my son Caden, who wanders without any clue of his safety or surroundings, it is scary. When is the right time, when do I let go?
There are so many things that scare us as parents. My youngest son wants to ride his bike all around town. He is more than capable, and of course thinks he can do everything. It is not necessarily him that I am afraid of, it is everyone else. It is the cars racing to get home after a long day of work. It is the amount of cars, the lack of focus, either on a phone or in such a hurry they aren’t paying attention. I don’t trust the people that have been driving for years. That is a hard thing to make your kids understand… it’s not you, it’s them.
I live right next to my kid’s elementary school. It has been a blessing, they can take their scooters over and ride, shoot baskets and play on the playground. It is our very own big built in backyard. Letting go was a little bit easier and at regular progression for my oldest and youngest kids. Caden of course was the one I had trouble with, and still worry about the most. Caden tends to live in his own world within his head and not pay attention to his surroundings. Or at least that is how it appears. Because he has always had therapists with him, he has had a crutch, or someone to pull him out of danger at all times. Crossing the street… I know he can do it, I have taught him to look both ways a million times… but… what if he is not paying attention, I just didn’t know if I could trust my own belief in him. What if when he is at school, he just wanders off and doesn’t come home? There have been times that he has wandered off and we didn’t know where he was. One time in particular, we were at a block party. He was gone. He knew how to walk home, but he wasn’t there… Some of the parents started getting concerned, and as the sun was setting, so were we. We started a little search. Finally finding him at one of the kid’s houses, along with a bunch of other boys, playing video games. What do we do with this? Can’t get mad at him, he was doing what all the other kids were doing. It was me, freaking out, thinking he had wandered off. But I had reason to panic, he had wandered off so many times before.
I had to cut the cord, I had to let Caden go and believe in him that he knows what to do without someone “protecting” him at all times. My grip was tight, but I could no longer hold him back. Camping trips where all the kids took off on their bikes, letting Caden go...literally into the wild, gave me a stomach ache. I wanted to trust him… but always had this uneasy, I am not 100% totally confident feeling. When would that go away? There were kids half his age going off on their own. It wasn’t fair to him…
Caden deciding to run for his student class president was a huge moment for him and for me. He came home saying he wanted to run… I thought...yeah right. I let him go with it because I thought for sure he would be over it by the next day. Nope. A million thoughts entered my head, but this time instead of letting them get in my way and take control, I allowed them to leave just as they had entered, without a second thought. I knew I had to let him do this. Beyond fearful of him being made fun of or doing something inappropriate on the stage during his speech, I deep down knew it was his time to shine. A few days prior to elections, Caden had made a bunch of comics. He told me that he was going to walk the neighborhood and sell them for $10 each. I said… “ummm how about a quarter?” I thought… no one is going to buy those dumb things. The spelling was horrific and they weren’t even in color. I let him take off, with his brother, and distracted myself so I wouldn’t be worried. My phone dinged and I received my first text … they had been struck by the salesman. Sending me a photo of Caden and the family after purchasing some comics. Another text and another followed… I was giggling aloud thinking that he was actually selling these things. He came home hours later. “Mom, I made $25, so now I can get my Smashers from Target.” I was in awe… and I knew that it was time to let my kid go, there was no stopping him. He was more than capable and he was showing me he was ready to embrace what the world has to offer. I am still protective, that will never go away… but I have learned to keep my mouth shut, and let Caden discover who he is. He doesn’t care what others think and he is not embarrassed by who he is. He has more courage than I ever will, and he is teaching me to let go and to trust, and that I don’t have to worry about him… he’s got this.