Monday, June 11, 2012

An Adventure

Leah (in the yellow life jacket) going on a canoe adventure at VBS last week

The other day my kids and I watched Finding Nemo for what was probably the 20th time. Pixar has their storytelling down pat, because I never seem to get tired of watching their movies. I am also a big softie and tend to cry at all of them.  Especially anytime a parent and child are reunited.  It's sad really, but true. Anyway, this time in particular, it was the very last line in the whole movie that got to me.  For some reason, it made my heart twist around tightly and I could feel the telltale lump forming in my throat.  In the last scene, Nemo is about to head off to school when he stops his teacher and runs back to give his dad one last hug.  The dialog is as follows:

Nemo (hugging his dad): I love you, Dad.
Marlin: I love you too, son.
Nemo (after being embraced a little too long): Uh, dad, you can let go now.
Marlin: Sorry! Now go have an adventure....

I am so glad God designed the process of life the way he did.  Because if we had to let go of our children right off the bat, no one would sign up for such emotional torture.  But instead, babies are born needy and helpless.  And parents are there to hold and feed and take care of all their needs.  Slowly, though, the letting go process begins.  Perhaps it starts off with Grandma watching the baby for a few hours while Mom and Dad go out on a much needed date.  Then maybe a babysitter watches the baby all day while Mom goes off to work. As the baby turns into a toddler, he may have an occasional sleepover at his grandparents' house. Or maybe even a multiple night stay if Mom and Dad are going on a vacation.  The process of letting go is done in small, manageable increments.

Later, as I am finding out, the letting go process gets harder.  Because instead of releasing your sweet baby into the loving and familiar arms of grandparents or other family members, you instead release them into the arms of a teacher, or daycare worker, or Sunday School teacher, or dance instructor.  That's when your heart seems to want to burst open and your eyes well up with tears.  In those moments you want to run back into the classroom and say, "Uh...we'll just try kindergarten next year when she's six.  Or eight.  Or never."  But then you take a deep breath, say a prayer for God to watch over her, and move on.  In all of my experiences like these, I have come back to happy children who are bursting at the seams to tell me all about their day.  Their adventure.

All of these experiences are just practice for when your baby is one day a grown young man or woman.  I can't imagine how much my heart will want to explode when I have to leave one of my kids at college.  But I hope I can look them in the eye and truly say, with confidence, "Hannah, Leah,'s time to go have an adventure."  

Thankfully, we still have lots more years to practice.


Rachel said...

Oh gosh, I'm all choked up already thinking about that day. I too want to be able to say that full heartedly! I was driving home today after dropping V off at pre-K and got all teary eyed thinking about how she is almost done and will be going into kindergarten in just a few short months. How I'll be apart from her for 6 whole hours as she is having her own education filled adventure!!!

Ashley said...

Well said. I like how you refer to our children's adventure. You're absolutley right. While it's so hard to let them go, our purpose is to raise them in the way we want them to go and then let them begin their own adventure. It's a happy sad feeling. :)

Maria Rose said...

I can't bear the thought, but even more than that I can't bear the thought of holding my kids back.