sometimes love is letting go

I see a strange thing happening lately. My boys are growing by leaps and bounds and I’m trying to figure out my role in it. Motherhood isn’t straightforward. I don’t have it figured out–and since my boys are 15 and 16 years old I guess I’ll never figure it out! I really hope I’m not the only mom who feels this way!

My role is changing. I need to free them up, let them go a bit, let them fail, let them experience independence. I know this in my head but my heart says something different. My heart wants to keep them little, keep them by my side, keep them physically close to me. But they are growing up. They need me but it looks different than it did a few years ago.

For David this looks like letting him play upstairs while I make dinner. It’s reminding myself he is able to come down the stairs and get me if he needs me. He makes his needs known. I need to let him grow up, be more independent and express his needs. He is sixteen, almost seventeen years old. He needs me but in a different way. He needs me to believe he is capable. He needs me to give him space–to be sure not to smother him. It’s challenging and honestly counter-intuitive for me. Since he was born I have seen love as meeting his needs and being by his side. He’s not so little anymore. Love looks like letting go a little bit.

This cuff is the perfect reminder to let love grow and change.

For Matthias this means giving him support without prompts and reminders. Last week he told me he needed to wake up at 5am to finish up some school work. I wanted to set my alarm and wake up at the same time so I could check on him–make sure he didn’t oversleep or turn off his alarm in a morning fog. I didn’t set my alarm but ended up waking up at 5am anyway. I started down the hallway to check on him and make sure was up and had to stop myself, remind myself–he is capable, he can do this. It’s okay if he fails. he can learn from this. He’s got this. He doesn’t need my help so much as he needs my support. And you know what? He did! He woke up early and got all his work done without any reminders from me. Love looks like letting go a little bit. 

This is new ground. It’s strange and disorienting–but also exciting and I’m enjoying a little more ‘me’ time. Do any of you feel this way? Are you trying to let go a little bit? Watching our babies grow up is hard and beautiful!


  1. Live this! Our oldest leaves for college 8 hours away in just under 2 months. A lot of letting go going on over here!!!

  2. I remember those days so well and your touching post reminded me of one of my favorite poems, Walking Away, by Cecil-Day Lewis:

    It is eighteen years ago, almost to the day –
    A sunny day with leaves just turning,
    The touch-lines new-ruled – since I watched you play
    Your first game of football, then, like a satellite
    Wrenched from its orbit, go drifting away

    Behind a scatter of boys. I can see
    You walking away from me towards the school
    With the pathos of a half-fledged thing set free
    Into a wilderness, the gait of one
    Who finds no path where the path should be.

    That hesitant figure, eddying away
    Like a winged seed loosened from its parent stem,
    Has something I never quite grasp to convey
    About nature’s give-and-take – the small, the scorching
    Ordeals which fire one’s irresolute clay.

    I have had worse partings, but none that so
    Gnaws at my mind still. Perhaps it is roughly
    Saying what God alone could perfectly show –
    How selfhood begins with a walking away,
    And love is proved in the letting go.

  3. Beautifully written and I so understand. I’ve married off two of my four children and am not raising my final teen and enjoying adult children and grand children. Our roles do change and it is hard.

  4. I am going through this as well
    Letting go
    It’s hard
    My youngest starts University in the Fall, moving into dorm,
    It’s scary for me, exciting for him
    But I know I’ve raised him well, he is a strong independent man who will thrive and adjust
    It’s me who has to adjust and learn to live again and spread my wings

  5. I feel the same way! I’m a mom of two boys 17 & 21 Sometimes I yearn for when they were younger but then am ready for them to fly. Even my oldest at 21 it’s hard to completely let go. It’s a new season and it’s a bit disorienting because it’s all I’ve known for the last 21 years! I guess we all go through this as mommas and we need to tell each other it’s ok ?

  6. For the first time ever we left my daughter (17) home alone overnight while we went to my in-laws for Father’s Day. My daughter had some volunteer commitments so couldn’t join us. I was a little worried and checked in with her via text. But she was fine and I think enjoyed that extra bit of responsibility. I felt one of the apron strings being cut. I was a little sad at how things are changing but also very proud of her and the young woman she is becoming. ? Andrea

  7. Yes, I can relate! The eldest of my three children is thirteen and things are shifting a bit as I try to give her more freedom. I want to be primarily a loving/happy mom, not a stressed/worried mom, which I tend to be. Thanks so very much for your blog, Lisa! I’ve been reading for years.❤️

  8. This is the stage of life I’m in and it’s so very hard. Yesterday, my 3rd child of 4 drove off for the first time with his brand new driver’s license. My oldest is moving to another state in less than 3 weeks. I just want to reverse time and keep them home, safe, with me. Rather than being proud of the amazing young adults they’ve grown into, I’m almost drowning in the fear of sending them out in such a wicked world. The thought occurred to me that they are exactly what this world needs more of though. I need to let go and trust them to their Heavenly Father who loves them even more than I do.

  9. Yes Lisa im going through the same things. Its unknown territory. I feel my motherhood changing into a different season and its so hard. Im sad that my little kids are gone but i also enjoy who they are becoming (sometimes ?) Hang in there. You are not alone?

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