Learning To Let Go

Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him. ~ Psalm 127:3

I moved my daughter, Elise, back to college this past Monday. This is the fourth year in a row I’ve done it. And the first time I haven’t cried. I guess I’m growing up 🙂

Even though the tears haven’t fallen yet this year, it doesn’t mean I haven’t been affected, especially last Sunday night. The now familiar melancholy feeling always pays me a visit just before she leaves; reminding me how lonely it can be without her. Even though my guys love me, she’s the one who truly gets me.

I remember the first time I was overwhelmed by this feeling. It was the Sunday night before I started back to work after Elise was born. She was just six weeks old and I cried as I packed her little diaper bag and fretted over how well the daycare would take care of our new bundle of joy. Would they hold her and kiss her and make her feel loved? Did they

packing Elise's diaper bag
Me packing Elise’s diaper bag that night

understand the prayers we’d flooded heaven with for God to send us this little blessing? As it turned out, they were wonderful and we made lots of new friends; teachers we will always remember because they poured their hearts into Elise and, eventually, our son, Jacob.

Letting go of her that first day I took her to daycare was hard. I didn’t want to leave her

there. And I cried on the way to work.

Twenty-one years later it’s still hard letting go. But it is getting easier, as it should be.

A few weeks ago, Elise and I were bemoaning the fact that we didn’t get to go to the beach this summer. We had a vacation, but it was in the mountains. The beach just makes it feel like summer. When we asked John and Jacob about possibly going for a few days before school started, they weren’t interested. They have no use for sun and sand and told us as much. They couldn’t appreciate how much we’d missed lazy days on the beach getting a tan or relaxing by the pool. As we were whining about the summer we’d missed out on, Elise looked at me and said, “Why don’t we go, Mom? Just you and me?”

Enjoying Charleston
Enjoying Charleston

The thought had never occurred to me. Immediately I began searching for affordable rooms in Charleston and booked one right on the water, with a pool and a balcony. We only had one week between the time we decided to go and school starting, so we took advantage of that small window of opportunity for one last hurrah of summer.

We had a great time together, walking through the market, lying by the pool, eating breakfast on the balcony and staying up late watching chick flicks. We shopped, ate, took a carriage ride and enjoyed every historic detail of Charleston. We even took in a play one night and had to run five blocks in the pouring rain afterward just to get to our car. As we were running through the downpour, I whined as water drenched me to the bone. But Elise said, “It’s only water! Look, we’re making memories, Mom!”

View from our balcony
View from our balcony

She is so smart.

It didn’t matter that my hair was stuck to my head or that my mascara had run down my cheeks all the way to my neck. What matters is that we made a memory. What mattered is that I got to spend time with my daughter.

One day Elise will be married and have her own children to tend to. She won’t have as much time for me, so I should consider every moment precious. I need to remember to live in the moment.

I’m so glad Elise suggested we get away. Now that I’ve taken her back to school, I have more sweet memories to savor of our time together. Precious memories I won’t soon forget.

This coming Tuesday my son, Jacob, will begin his senior year in high school. Heaven help me as I learn to let go all over again!

freshman year
Dropping Elise off her freshman year at college

Do you have a story of letting go you’d like to share? 

I’d love to hear it!

7 thoughts on “Learning To Let Go”

  1. Thanks for sharing this wonderful story of making memories with your special girl. Children truly are a gift from The Lord. I’m glad I got to be apart of her life for a little while. She is a beautiful young lady just as she was a beautiful child. I will always remember her with joy in my heart because she was so sweet and caring toward others.

    • Thanks so much, Beverly! All of the teachers at Standing Springs were wonderful to the kids. I think I had a harder time when they graduated out of preschool than they did because I didn’t want to leave all of you special ladies 🙂 Thank you for being such a wonderful teacher to Elise!

  2. Letting go! No small challenge in spite of the fact it is what we have been parenting for all along. I too am blessed with a daughter eager to spend time with me even though she is now married and in that next phase of life. Wishing you more memory making moments! They are a treasure!

    • Thanks for letting me know there’s still hope for spending precious time together even after she’s married, Marvae! It great to know I can look forward to many more memory making moments 🙂

  3. This us beautiful. I guess I’m seeing this at just the right time. I know this is an old post, but my daughter will graduate at the end of May and leave for Clemson in the fall. Even though I know she will be within driving distance, she helps me keep my sanity and see things through a different perspective. Oh, how I know I will miss her. I don’t want to let this summer go by without cherishing every moment I am privileged to have with her.

    • I’m so glad you commented Missy. I haven’t read this post in quite a while. Looking back I remember how difficult it was leaving her at school. But you’ll be so excited for her as she grows into the person God created her to be. It’s thrilling to see them come into their own. God bless as you enjoy every moment of her senior year! And maybe even take a girl’s weekend away before she leaves! 🙂

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