It seems like just yesterday that all three of my kids fit together into their bright red wagon and I’d pull them around the neighborhood. Fast-forward to 2018: The wagon is a bit rusty now, and its chief purpose is to transport firewood.
And just like that, my onetime toddlers Catherine, Matthew and Andrew have reached the respective ages of 13, 15 and nearly 17. My sons are taller than I am, and even my daughter isn’t far behind.
Soon enough, the time will come for them to spread their wings. What once seemed so far into the future is now right around the corner: Driving. Dating. Jobs. College. Moving out. Possibly moving away.
I’ll need to remind myself that as they adapt to new life experiences, my wife and I also must adjust — namely, in terms of letting go — if we’re sincere about wanting our kids to thrive as adults.
Speaking for myself, this will be a tough task. Without question I want our children to have many successes in adulthood — and yet, letting go is not always my strong suit. My sentimental side wants to freeze time, so that my kids can be kids forever and we’re never at risk of drifting apart.
Yet my rational side realizes that indulging in this fantasy would only be doing my children a disservice. I know I must loosen my parental grip eventually, just like my parents allowed for my own transition into adulthood and the independence that comes with it.
Deep down, I’m confident that my kids and I will remain close in the years and decades to come — although I do sense that I’ll be leaning often on the phrase “Let go and let God” over the next few years.