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Let them go and grow

It was a hot July day at Ben Epps Airport in Athens GA. I stood on the concrete runway watching my twenty year old son take his first flying lesson. He was excitedly anticipating this adventure and I was thrilled for him.  

Christine Martinello

The instructor and my son went through all the preparations before flying – walking around the plane and making sure everything was ready and secure. Then my son jumped in and they reviewed the internal controls. When it was time to depart, the plane slowly and wobbly rolled down the runway. Then the plane picked up speed and went faster and faster until all of a sudden it lifted off the ground. My heart leapt and I took in a deep breath. Within moments the plane got smaller until my squinty eyes lost sight of the plane.  It was gone. 

Out of the blue, I started crying. Where moments before I felt confident and oh so happy for him, now I felt weak and out of control. Where was he going? Can he really handle this? Would he be alright? Deep down it hit me like a ton of bricks – he was gone. He was travelling to new places on his own without me, his mom.  So with tear stained eyes, I went back inside the building to wait for him and read the book I brought, ironically entitled:  ‘The Mom Inventors Handbook’.

Letting go is tough. The transition isn’t just for the child, a huge shift occurs for us moms too. We need to let them go so they can grow. We need to let them go so we can grow. 

The process of mothering is like a game of tug of war with tensions between holding on and letting go.  When our children are small we hold on for dear life. We have to. We give them roots with a foundation of love and care. Once they are able to do things on their own, it’s time to give them wings. The letting go tinge is felt at special times like when a child goes off to school, celebrates a birthday, graduates and ultimately moves out of the house.  

It’s as if a small voice is whispering to Mom, “Let go and let them fly.” However, everything in a mom’s fiber feels conflicted. Another small voice says, “But I need to do for my child. I’m the one that will make everything ok. I can fix the boo boo’s. I brought this child into the world and it’s my job to raise him or her right.” There is a deep feeling that we are needed. When they fly away, we have to face the fact that we’re not needed in the same way. We must adapt.    

Motherhood is for a limited time only. For us to truly love we need to give them deep roots and strong wings. Even though it hurts to let our child go, we know that if we hold on, they won’t do what they were meant to do.  

So we pray, “God, please guide and protect my precious child, especially when I can’t be there. Let him grow into the person you created him to be. My mothering time is lessening and his time to shine is just beginning. Thank you for the awesome miracle of life and opportunities you’ve given us. ”  

It does our heart good to remember the bigger picture. Even though we shed tears when they go, we can cheer mightily when they grow.     

Christine is recognized as a leading authority in leadership, life balancing, and Momager™ topics. She is founder of the Momager™ Movement, Camp Her Way, a facilitator of‘edutainment’ programs, a sought-after speaker, and best-selling author of The Momager™ Guide: Empowering Moms To Leave A Loving Legacy. Read more about Chrisine Martinello at