Holding on and letting go

Source: School-camps-nsw-activities-51-800x500

I’ve never thought of myself as a particularly clingy parent. I’ve happily let my kids go to play at other people’s homes and have sleepovers from a fairly young age (hey, I’ve even encouraged them – the peacefulness when we have a break from each other can be so lovely!)

But every now and again, I feel a slight pain. A twinge, seeing my kids growing up. While I remain (in the main) very proud of them, it reminds me that they won’t be here with us for ever. And, in fact, progressively, they are learning, and becoming independent. And, of course, we’re not expecting a complete separation, but with adult children in the future, the relationship will, and should be, very different.  Sometimes I feel relief at the thought (or even disbelief, on those days when I feel like a broken record, repeating the same messages which don’t seem to register. Grrr). But at other times I feel the – not pain, not that dramatic – but, maybe loss, mixed with joy – as I feel them shifting slightly away from me. As they grow up and, in part, away. As they should.


That’s the case this week, as my boy’s on school camp for five days. That’s the longest he’s been away, and the first time he’s been away in a different state to us. He’s been on camps before, but for some reason, this time, I’ve been feeling a little unsteady with him away.

It’s wonderful and weird and a little lonely and I feel happy and also miss him (and it’s only been a day so far!) I feel like, as much as camps are designed for to challenge and enrich the kids, the kids aren’t the only ones who benefit. Camps, as one example, are also opportunities for parents to get used to letting go, just that little bit more each time. Loosening the connections, just a bit.


I heard a quote the other week:

‘Life is a balance between holding on and letting go’.

I felt like this quote could be written specifically for us parents!

We need to know when to support, assist, and, sometimes (often?) cajole our kids, and when to leave them to explore, to maybe slip, but to find their own way. We need to be there to comfort them, while not stifling them. And we need to learn to become comfortable about this shifting role, back and forth, which evolve and change as our kids move into different stages of life. There’s lots of growing for us too.

My son’s only away for a few days. It’s fine. More than fine, really. I’m enjoying the chance, even with the slight discomfort, to let him go. But I’m also really looking forward to holding him tightly, wrapping him in a big hug, when he returns.


More reading:

What many mothers have taught me about holding on and letting go (see here)

5 thoughts on “Holding on and letting go

  1. That’s a great quote to sum up parenting. We are in a ‘letting go’ phase, but my kids are in a ‘holding on’ phase. It reverses often. Every now and then we want the same things. That’s parenting.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I absolutely love this sentiment and have written about it before myself- I’ve even used the same title (great minds think alike). Best of luck in your ongoing parenting journey. It’s full of cruel paradoxes!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on Home Base and commented:

    Some blog posts require reblogging because the topic still applies. And that is to topic of knowing when to hold on, and when to let go.

    This time it’s how best to support my daughter navigate a path between being oversensitive and standing up for herself at school. The urge to ‘make it better’ is strong but, provided it doesn’t go too far, her teachers and us as parents are better placed in helping her help herself. It is a slow process, but there is progress nonetheless. We can see that she is developing greater awareness, including self confidence without being self absorbed, kindness without being a doormat (although, of course, there are lapses in all of these, and that’s to be expected). Importantly, this won’t continue for ever – there is a light at the end of the tunnel. And it’s a tunnel she needs to travel through – we can be there, but we can’t carry her through it.

    What’s your biggest challenge as a parent?


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