As we unwrapped the final presents, a wave of panic came over me … I didn’t write “the boys’” Christmas letters. Feeling a mixture of embarrassment, guilt, and disbelief, I shook my head. How could I forget? I’ve been doing this since they were three and one. It’s a tradition. The last present. They’ve always looked forward to those green journals wrapped in a bright red ribbon.
But that’s when I remembered … my sons are now men. They no longer need my yearly recap … my advice … my thoughts as to how they might grow, evolve, elevate. They’re past the stage of requiring my input because they’ve got this.
I’ve done my job. In fact, I suppose my messages in their annual journals stopped being beneficial several years ago. But I kept writing these Christmas letters. Maybe I was completing this ritual for me as much as I was for them.
Being a parent is one of the hardest things in the world. But it’s not the late nights with crying babies, the toddler tantrums, the chaotic birthday parties, those never-ending baseball games, or the soccer tournament weekends. What’s hardest are the moments we must let go—when they go to kindergarten … summer camp … college. Those are the situations no one prepares you for. But perhaps the most difficult time is when they no longer are “your children” but have instead become full-fledged adults.
Yes, I will always be “Mom.” No one can ever take away from me. And if needed, I will be there at a moment’s notice. But here’s the thing … our sons are both great. Complete and perfectly imperfect just as they are. They don’t need me, my advice, my wisdom, or my insight. They are fully equipped adults ready to follow their individual journeys … not the ones Scott and I took, but theirs.
Still, accepting this and releasing my needs as a mother is damn difficult. This could be the hardest thing I’ve had to surrender. But for all of us to grow, it’s essential I accept this transition in our relationship.
This morning I realized the subconscious reason I didn’t write their Christmas letters this year. Somehow, I understood that as beautiful as this tradition has been, it is now time for it to end and another to begin.
Letting go of what no longer serves us—or others—opens doors for exciting new beginnings. As I surrender my inclination to summarize, analyze, and then offer my “words of wisdom,” I can then replace these annual journals with words of gratitude. Yet, instead of occurring on Christmas, I will offer my sons something at the beginning of each new year. These journals will look, sound, and feel different. I see this as a shift … a lifting in vibration … an acknowledgment of growth, but on my part, not our sons’.
However, this practice may not be gone forever because I plan to revive it upon the births of any grandchildren.
And one more thing … whenever our sons need me to listen, hold their hand, or merely act as a beacon of light … I will always be here. And if they ask—and truly want my opinion—I’ll share it with them. But I now know they no longer need it. They’ve got this.