I remember the day I watched my first little 5-year-old climb the stairs of the big yellow school bus. She looked so tiny as she was barely able to climb the steps. I waved at her as the bus pulled away. I have to admit the only way I was brave enough was that I made a plan.
My husband was there to watch her get on the bus and then drop me off at school. I meet the bus at school and walked her across the ‘big’ elementary school campus to the kindergarten area. She quickly joined others on the playground. Before I was ready, she was lined up with the others and following her teacher into the classroom. It was then I realized I wasn’t the only mom watching and we all quietly walked away. I walked home, crying most of the way. But was I walked the last block my tears were done and I was ready to hug my other children that were watched by a friend.
I knew I wasn’t ready to just put her on the bus and turn around and take care of my other two children. I needed time to adjust. I needed to know she made it there safely and I needed time to deal with my emotions. It was exactly what I needed to be able to let her go.
Of course, I had to repeat this as I put the other two girls on the big yellow school bus, for their first times. I can’t say they were as hard as the very first time, but it was NEVER easy. Letting go is not easy, but it necessary. I used to wonder what it is like for a momma bird. I am sure the momma bird would encourage their baby birds to move farther and farther as they got bigger. But sometimes they would have to push the baby bird out of the nest and wait for them to open its wings and fly. That is exactly what I felt like as a mom. The birds really can’t survive in the nest forever. Our children really can’t stay little and under our wing forever, too.
As a mom there were many other times I had to let go. (I was going to list them then decided I couldn’t do that to those in the beginning of this journey.) The action of putting them on the big yellow school bus was the experience I used to give me confidence to let go throughout their life. I would say to myself, “If I could let them walk up the steps of the big yellow school bus, I can let them do this!”
My four pieces of advice:
Have a plan, a way to be sure you can be brave enough to let go.
Take an emotional walk, take time to cry and cope.
Ask for help as needed, a hug from your husband, time with friends, or distractions.
Most important of all, give yourself permission to grieve. It hurts to let go!