Let go and let life

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It feels like our crew has been battling sickness forever. We wash hands like crazy, take our vitamins, get sleep and still it seems like we just can’t seem to get a handle on these nasty winter germs.

Our three youngsters are in three different schools and every other day we’re getting a notice in their backpacks of some illness sweeping through the classrooms. First, it was the flu, then strep and now it’s the ever-elusive “crud” that seems to be plaguing us. Their poor immune systems (and ours for that matter) are getting bombarded, and it’s to the point where I feel a little guilty dropping them off.

Times like this make me want to move to the country, start living off the land and sequester ourselves to a lovely life of seclusion. But, really, that’s just my over-protective “Mama Bear” instincts kicking in. I don’t actually want to shelter my kids from the world. I just want to keep them safe enough that nothing bad ever happens to them … ever. And who doesn’t?

No one wants to see their kids sick, hurt, or sad, but, that’s a part of life, and I’d probably be doing them a disservice if I tried to stop it. I mean, sure I think my children are fantastic (and don’t try to tell me otherwise), but it won’t be long before they realize that other kids might better at reading, dancing, math, football or gymnastics than they are. They are perfect to me, but bad things will happen to them, and there isn’t anything I can, or should do, to prevent them from going out into the world.

But man it’s hard!

I used to think potty training was the hardest thing about parenting, but letting my children “go” and learn about life on their own (to an extent… I mean, the oldest is only in kindergarten) is way easier said than done. When our firstborn was just a baby, about six months old, my husband and I got to talking about his future and that we should start planning for college. Before I knew it, Mike was saying “Well if he wants to go to Oxford we’re going to have to let him go, Jordan,” and I’m yelling back, “Let him go? We JUST got him!” Early on, I knew it was going to be a struggle for me to let them have their independence.

No, I can’t shelter my kids to keep them from getting sick, disappointed or heartbroken. I want to, but I can’t. As a mom, I’m learning to have faith that when they leave our little nest each morning, and the natural consequences of life happen, they will be OK. They will learn from their mistakes, recover from disappointment, and, hopefully, become productive and positive tiny members of society.

Jordan Schupbach is a mother of three living in the Houston area. She blogs at www.lattesandliving.com - sharing the good, the bad and the frenzied.

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