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In a Matter of a Moment

May 14, AD2014 5 Comments


I was talking to a friend today about her son’s upcoming graduation from high school. Two of my own children have graduated already and so I understand all those feelings that are bubbling just below the surface of her calm exterior- pride, worry, joy, hope, astonishment, wonder, elation, and even sadness. Each feeling filling her heart and mind as she prepares to see her son move from one station in his life to another; from boyhood to manhood. It’s overwhelming to say the least!  It is a time of joy as we remember all the wonderful times while they were growing up, but a time of sadness too knowing that soon we will be “letting go” of someone we have held so close to us for the last 18 years. It is a tug-of-war on our hearts!

In a matter of a moment our “babies” are suddenly grown and moving forward in their lives, often leaving us to wonder how it went so fast. Sometimes when our babies are tiny, we are so consumed with feeding, changing diapers, bathing, and sleeping when possible that we wake up one morning to find that tiny baby, whose little lips puckered and quivered just before crying when he was hungry or sad, is now a full-fledged toddler who loves putting things into the toilet every bit as much as he loves cuddling with his mama. Likewise, as our children grow and change, we often focus so much on the day-to- day activities (homework, ball games, play dates, and of course all of our own day-to-day activities) that one day we wake up to see that our children, the ones who loved to sit in our laps and twirl our hair; the ones who wanted to eat hot dogs for weeks on end; the ones who fell asleep snuggled with their favorite toy, are all grown up. We’ve been there the whole time enjoying every second with them, but how has it come to this? How in the world, without us knowing it, did they suddenly become adults?

For many parents, this is a very scary time in their lives. We pray we’ve done our job and have raised our children to know right and wrong. We pray this will lead them to choose the right path. We pray we have raised them in the faith so that as they leave our sides they understand they are not alone, that God is walking right there alongside of them always. We pray that after all this time under our wings they will be ready to fly on their own. Yes, graduation isn’t just a scary time for the kids graduating, but a very worrisome time for parents as well. It’s not as if once our children are graduated and gone to college, or moved out of our homes, they are no longer our concern. No, the worries just change, but don’t decrease.

I often think about our Father in heaven. Does He worry about us this way too? When there are changes in our lives does He worry that we will make the right decisions; that we will look to Him for guidance? What about our blessed Mother Mary? Surely she was concerned about Jesus and how He left what He knew (carpentry, home life) to begin His ministry. However, she had confidence in her Son, and not only in all that she and Joseph had taught Him, but also in what He had taught her. We too must be like Mary, trusting in our children to fall back on what we have taught them and the values that we instilled in them. Also like Mary, we must trust in what our children have taught us over the years- goodness, faith, trust, love.  We have seen them succeed in so many areas of their lives-academics, sports, friendships; we have seen them grow in their faith, drawing close to God in times of trouble; we have seen them treat others with respect and dignity. They have shown us what amazing people they have become over the years. We need to trust that just because they are no longer under our wing they are still the people we have seen them grow to be.

Raising children is a tough job. It is often thankless and overwhelming. We want so badly for our children to become good people who make a difference in the world. We have our children for such a limited time in their lives to help instill those traits which we know will not only benefit them in the world but will benefit their souls for an eternity. We have to fight with the outside world to help them learn what is right and holy. When we get to this point in their lives, where it is time for them to move forward without us, it is often very difficult to let go. We want to continue to protect and teach them, nurture and guide, love and cherish them. We have to find a new role in our children’s lives.

We are so blessed that God has trusted us enough to help form the lives and souls of His children. Have faith that you have done your job and that your child will be everything you have hoped and dreamed for him/her. Know that their lives are blessed, because of your guidance and love.

Letting go is hard. It is probably one of the hardest things we will do as parents. But have confidence that the seeds you have planted and nurtured will bear an abundance of good fruit. Place your child in God’s hands and watch in wonderment as your child blooms and grows in ways you couldn’t even imagine. As you miss that little child who once reached to stroke your face and tell you how much he loved you take heart in knowing that he is going out into the world to share that same love with others. He will touch their lives every bit as much as he touched yours. By letting go of him, you give the rest of the world a beautiful gift. Your tears of sadness over him leaving will be replaced by tears of joy as you see how many lives he changes.  Yes, letting go is hard, but in letting go we allow God to enter our lives in new and amazing ways. I can’t wait to see what the future holds!

© 2014. Michelle Fritz. All rights reserved.

Photography: See our Photographers page.

About the Author:

Michelle is a cradle Catholic, married to her high school sweetheart Mike for the last 24 years. She is an ecletic homeschooling mom of 11 children. In addition to her children on earth she is a mother to 13 saints in heaven. She is active in the prolife community and is dedicated to protecting all children, both born and unborn. Michelle is a regular writer at Catholic Sistas, a website dedicated to sharing the truths of our faith through personal stories and article that stress adherence to the teachings of the Church. She loves Apologetics and learning all she can about our beautiful Catholic faith.

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  • mm

    My oldest of 4 is only finishing kindergarten this year, and for a couple years now I’ve had so much anxiety about them growing up. I feel so depressed already that they will someday have to leave me, and they’re still so young. Everyone is always throwing in my face to enjoy every minute because they grow up so fast, and it causes me so much anxiety. Plus that’s too much pressure. Nobody can enjoy every minute of anything so now I’m terrified that when it’s all over I’ll have regret and guilt about the times I couldn’t enjoy, was pulling my hair out and wishing for more freedom and time. I’m a mom. That’s what I do. What use will I be when it’s over? What if they hate me and follow the world some day? What if they leave the faith? What if they’re unhappy and depressed and cry themselves to sleep some nights? I’m so scared when they leave me i’ll lose them. God help me

    • NurseTammy

      If you have true depression and anxiety I cant really help you as Im not qualified to and I hope you have access to help, but as your your expressed concerns…

      You are right…no one can enjoy every minute. I am trying to savor my last few mothering moments and yet when my daughter threw up violently in the hall on our way in to see the MD, it was awful…she was sick and I hated it and that is OK.

      So much of mothering is the balance of wishing for more freedom but being glad that our young children need us.

      What if they leave the faith…you an read my column about that Our kids wandering away from the faith is a challenge like where we must trust that God is still God and He knows and loves our children.

      We all have moments where we’re unhappy and cry ourselves to sleep at night and moments where we seem lost to those who love us but all is not lost and God IS THERE to help us. I am living it and Im OK and if you live it for a time, you can be OK too.

    • Michelle

      I completely understand! Just know that while there is no way you can enjoy everything, and you will make mistakes along the way (big ones at that!), and your children will find reasons to be upset with you and say “I hate when my mom did xyz” as long as you are making sure that along the way you are loving them with all your heart and soul and providing them with ways to know God, everything else will be ok. Your job as a parent isn’t to make sure they do everything perfectly, you can’t do that. Your job is to provide them with the tools they need to succeed. The choices they make- whether it is to leave the faith or join the world in the glorification of self and sin doesn’t mean you have fail; it means that they have used their God-given gift of free will.

      Provide them with a good home base, a loving home base, a God-filled home base. That way when and if they ever stray they will know there is a safe place to come home to. We protect them when they are young but as they grow it becomes so hard to do so. As a wise priest told me, “You have to let them fly”. They have to face trials and temptations to become stronger and firmer in their faith. Trust in God and give Him your worries. He understands… heck, He sent His Son to be one of us! He knew what was ahead and still sent Him to us. ((((HUGS))) and prayers for you. Parenting can be scary but don’t let those feelings overtake the feelings of joy, love, and hope. Those feelings are much better to focus on! 🙂

      Thank you for your comments!! I appreciate them!

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  • NurseTammy

    After 25 years of parenting, my baby will graduate from High School in 3 weeks, she only has about 10 more days of classes…today, I realized that the box of ziplock bags for her lunches will outlast my need for them. I was excited to see my oldest go into the adult world, it feels very different to experience it with my youngest….and yet we HAVE to let go lest we unintentionally incapacitate them with our nurturing.

    When my middle kid (22) was getting ready to move to a commune, I offered him numerous opportunities to earn money and he ignored them. The night before he left, he came to me and said “I only own one pair of pants” (he was certain that a trip to Kohls with a trusty coupon was only a well-placed gripe away) and I told him “that was poor planning on your part.” (full disclosure…there are pants hanging in his closet…not sure why they are so inadequate as to mot even be considered actual pants but that is a mystery for the ages).