The summer sky was clear and faintly decorated with a few pillow-like clouds. The kind you believe you could walk on, but settle for making figures out of them, instead. Ella and I were driving to the airport. The one that takes forever to get to. She was the radio DJ and I was the driver – scanning stations for Bieber, while I scanned my thoughts for doubts.
The airport always surfaces the same two emotions for me…excitement and nervousness. An excitement to go somewhere. To chase adventure and take in change. And a nervousness to get there.
This time I wasn’t traveling. This time, and for the first time, . . .
I was putting my child on a plane by herself.
I flew by myself the summer after fourth grade to go visit my grandma in Colorado. And then, all the way to California, the summer between seventh and eight grade, coincidentally the same summer for Ella. It’s a different day and age, but letting go and letting your kids grow up is the same no matter the century.
What is different in this day and age is that only travelers can go to the gate. I remember going to the gate to wait for whoever it was I was picking up. Do you? The good news is most airlines will give you a pass to accompany your minor to the gate. I had forgotten this feeling of going to the gate and watching someone you love get on a plane while you do not. Watching your heart take off without you. I have never known the feeling of putting my child on a plane and then heading back to my car. It was kind of agonizing waiting for the plane to taxi, texting back and forth. I didn’t want to hold her back so I only held back my tears.
In the Southwest Terminal of the airport, right then and there, I realized that my grip was loosening and that this was just a first. A first in a series of fingers prying off my child. A first in letting my little girl grow and go and become. A first in the series of many firsts that would begin the bridge of child to grown girl. A first in letting go.
I didn’t leave until the plane taxied. And like any good (or crazy) mom I tracked her flight on an App. And before that we prayed and I put her in the Father’s hands, the safest place she could be. I took my fingers off and left her in His strong grip. Remembering that while I’m having to learn to let go, He never will.
Ella made it to her cousin’s in Charlotte before I made it back home from the airport in Chicago. And just like that, we both grew that day. I let go so she could grow. I didn’t know this stage would come so fast, but it does. We went from three to thirteen in matter of weeks. At least thats how it feels, now, looking back.
I’m thinking of this let go to grow idea. It isn’t just for parent and child. It’s for anyone that doesn’t want to stay stagnant or the same. Anyone who wants to grow and go and become. It’s for anyone who is facing something that surfaces those same two emotions…excitement and nervousness. An excitement to go somewhere. To chase adventure and take in change. And a nervousness to get there. No matter the circumstance, the age or the change many many times it’s the letting go allows us to grow.
The sky is blue today with whispy clouds whisking by. I’m here and Ella is there. Both of us still growing.
What is it that you are gripping tightly to today? Nervous to loosen your fingers on. Nervous to take your hands off of and let go. Stuck on the idea that change will change things. What if you don’t like the change that letting go will bring, you repeat? What if you love it, I wonder? Letting go is not a free-fall. Letting go is being caught. It’s taking your hands off and resting in your Father’s strong grip. Holding on, while it feels safe, can hold us back. It can stunt our growth, limit our view and our lives. You’ll never know how free you might feel once you let your tired hands release what you’ve been holding to so tightly.
xo . t