The Hardest Part Of Parenting Is Letting Them Go
7 months of fundraising, prepping, packing and planning and at 12:35am on Thursday July 20, 2017, Brigette left for Tanzania. Not only is this her first solo flight but it will be the farthest she has ever traveled. People are shocked that we didn’t hesitate one second when she asked us to go on this trip. But I have to be perfectly honest here, the hardest part of parenting is letting them go. Letting them get on that plane. Letting them make decisions and giving them control. Sigh. The terrible 2’s were nothing compared to this. I’ve been ok with this whole trip, really. From the travel immunizations to the shopping for supplies to the packing of her bags. I was calm and cool and excited for her. It wasn’t until about 3 days before she was set to leave that I lay in bed crying. She’s getting on that plane as my first born baby. My 14 year old who has seen so little of this world. And she is going to come back a world traveler. I think it would have been way harder if she was nervous about the trip but she had nothing but sheer excitement. The weeks leading up to the trip she would run into my bedroom as if she was jumping out of a giant birthday cake and yell that she was “leaving in 3 weeks”, 2 weeks, 9 days, etc. Her energy was palpable. She was booked on a red-eye flight to Toronto leaving at 12:35am (ugh) so she could meet the rest of her group from MEtoWE at 7am. She said her good-byes to her sisters which consisted of a couple of side body hugs and a pat on the head. We packed up the car and off we went. Nana and Papa met us at the airport to see her off and luckily had time for a visit before she had to go thru security. I was able to get a security pass from Westjet that allowed me (only 1 pass per passenger) to take her thru security, right up to her gate.
We hugged good-bye once more both teary eyed but both smiling. The drive home, I couldn’t hold back my sobs. What if she needed me? What if she wanted to ask me a question? What if she never needs my help again after this? Will she remember all the things I told her before she got on the plane? She’s just so far away and I’ll miss her terribly. Truly, the hardest part of parenting is letting them go. Letting them go on the school bus. Letting them go to the park. Letting them go to the dance. Letting them go on a date. (gulp)
As much as I struggle with this part of being a mom, I know that letting her go will bring her closer to me in the end.