I was in line at the grocery store recently, watching a mother of two small children trying to manage the competing tasks of finding her wallet and keeping the kids from pulling every sugar-filled item within arm’s reach into the cart.
It struck me that as we practice our awareness of transitioning the relationships with our children, we are in the process of launching them into the world from the very early days of their lives. We progressively “let go” of them – however reluctantly – from early on: literally and figuratively releasing as they learn to walk, ride a bicycle, go to school that first day, then comes the driver’s license, and the list goes on, all the while trusting and entrusting their nurture and care to others we may not know.
It reminded me of the natural flow in our lives as parents – this is what we’re designed to do and we have been practicing it our children’s entire life. We guide, nurture, reprimand, teach, cajole, fear, celebrate, and release, all with the curious and hopeful question of poet Mary Oliver, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”