One of the most difficult parts of motherhood, at least for me, was and still is, letting go. I guess it`s because as mom of twins, I always have to let go two kids in one go.
The first time was when they were about 6 months old ? when they were left alone with Grandma for a couple of hours so my husband and I could go to the movies. I just ceased breast feeding then for health reasons and could easily take a couple of hours off. I couldn`t remember anything about the film ? not even the title – but I could still recall that very strong feeling of guilt.
When my boys were 12.5 months old, we placed them in a daycare 2 days a week so 1) I can work part-time, and 2) they can socialize with other kids – something quite important for twins. My feelings were indescribable, worsened by the fact that they didn`t seem to suffer from separation anxiety ? as I did. I guess that comes with being twins. As long as they are together, mom`s absence is easier to take.
I must admit that as they grew older, it got easier to let go ? the first babysitter, gym classes, pre-school ? but the feeling of guilt never went away.
This week was another ?letting go? experience. We`ve just came back from a week of winter holidays where my boys attended a so-called ?ski kindergarten? for kids aged 4 to 6. I was torn between giving them the opportunity to learn the sport and worrying about their safety. Will they be fine? What if they fall and hurt themselves badly? What if they had to go to the bathroom (not an easy feat in winter clothes, ski shoes and skis)? What if the bigger kids are mean to them?
On the first day, we, parents, were told what is expected of us:
- Stay for 10 minutes, give a quick goodbye kiss, and go. If we need you, we`ll call you.
- Don`t come running when you see them fall. The ski teachers know what to do and the kids will be taught how to get up.
- Don`t hang around and cheer them on. The less distraction for the kids, the better.
- In other words, go and enjoy yourselves and let us do our job.
So I forced myself to stay away though I must admit I spied on them from a distance from time to time (and I wasn`t the only one). I checked my cell phone every 5 minutes to make sure I didn`t miss a call.
Day after day, I saw my boys fall and struggle to their feet again. I saw how their conquered the snow and the skis and progressed from a little mound to a hillock. On the 5th day, they were waving at me confidently as they slalomed downhill. All is well. Another milestone in their young life, another one in my middle-aged life.
I know I have more ?letting go`s? ahead of me. School trips, slumber parties, camping trips, college, moving out, getting married? Did I say it gets easier? Actually, I don`t think so. I know I will always be torn between letting them find themselves and keeping them to myself, letting them soar and tying them down.
Yes, letting go is hard ? but I think it is one of the best gifts I can give to my kids.