October 3, 2011

helicopter parenting

This post was originally written about 2 years ago, but I wanted to post it again today...

Last year, when our 2 oldest sons moved out within a week or so of each other, my poor old heart went through quite a time of adjustment. I think my midlife crises actually started when our oldest son was a senior in high school, but having 2 leave the nest almost at the same instant, accelerated that crisesy feeling.

In an effort to understand everything I was feeling I read a book about the emptying nest. The authors described two kinds of parents in the book: one is a hoverer and the other steps back completely and almost becomes "obsolete" in the grown child's life. Outwardly, I'm not sure I fit in either category, but in my heart I'm definitely a Hoverer. I wrote this to our sons hoping it would explain how I feel:
If I hover it's because: Other than the Lord and your dad, I love you 4 boys more than anything else on the planet.

I carried each of you in my body while the Lord carefully knit you together. I was there the first time you kicked a leg, stretched your arm, and hiccuped. Your life was literally knit to mine for nearly a year and the bonds that formed in my heart are almost indescribable.

We reassured each other after you were born. You had lost your safe, dark, quiet world and I had become a mother for the first, second, third, or fourth time. Those first few hours together were terrifying for each of us; to hold you next to me and breath in the scent and warmth and reality of "us" brought comfort to our hearts.

I hover because I know what a precious, amazing gift each child is. When I look at your face, your eyes, your hair, your hands...when I look at your heart, your strengths, your desires, and your needs...I am awed that the Lord chose me to be your mother. He wanted me to partner with your dad to raise you?
It's no wonder your lives have been bathed in prayer. God alone knew where He wanted to go with the tiny life that was placed in our arms when you were born. He alone has the plan for who you will end up being. The lives you will touch. The people you will love. The hurts you will experience.

I hover because I want to make sure I get it right. I forget sometimes that I'm only an instrument in your life. I am not your life. He is. Jesus is.

To release your life into His capable hands is a daily choice... to surrender you to Him and say "He's your son. He's yours." It's getting easier.

Easier because I see that by letting you go you're becoming someone much bigger, much better, much more of everything good than if I'd held on tight and not let go. Jesus is using you-if I hadn't let go you would be loved. You would be safe. You would be protected. But you would be small.

love them
listen to them
give them deep roots
give them wings

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