Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Lent for Extroverts 19: Letting go

Growing up is fraught with problems. I'll never forget when a friend visited me shortly after I had just came back from the hospital with son #1 and philosophised words to the effect that as soon as they are born someone's trying to take them away from you. I thought this was a bit over stating the case but after a while I realized she was right. No sooner was the feeding going really well then thoughts turned to weaning. We progressed from sharing a room to being in separate rooms. He learned to crawl, then walk so then he didn't need carrying. He learnt to say 'NO' and do his own thing at nursery then school. Six hours a day out of the home. That was a while back. Sooner or later he'll be leaving home; they all will.

Same with kittens. Our gorgeous cuddly new additions have reached the end of the molly coddling stage - it's time for the getting out into the big bad world stage (once the micro chipping is in place). We've had the 'hate wearing collars with an absolute passion' disastrous attempt today. I only want them to wear collars in case they get lost and a neighbour can then return them. Trying to control outcomes is hopeless though. It's about letting go. There's always risk in growing up: look at The Snowman - joyous dancing in Lapland one day; melted in a heap the next.

I've heard The Snowman mined for theological insights into the problem of freewill one too many times, but still it's persuasive: if you create something with autonomy you forfeit the right to control the outcome of the creature's choices. Something alive is so precious and fragile but keeping it locked safely indoors for ever defeats the point of being alive. We are made to grow up. As Mothering Sunday rolls onto the horizon, and clergy do their best to make it a joyful celebration as well as remembering that there is pain woven into so many things-parenting; maybe the best lesson is that mothering (parenting) is ultimately about letting go.


  1. What a beautiful post - I went through a time last year where I realised my son was starting to grow up and didn't 'need' me as much and I had to let him go and give him over to God. It was one of the hardest and yet rewarding things I have done as I stepped back to give him light he grows even stronger.

  2. This is very relevant to me as I think about Alexandra going off to university in the autumn and I admit, I'm struggling with it.