Changing the Grip. Letting Go of a Graduating Senior

I am awake early because I heard my son come in from the last of his graduation festivities, his all night senior party. He plopped a prize he had won on the counter. I asked, “What is it?” He said, “It is a popcorn maker, we could pick from a bunch of prizes. I thought the whole family would enjoy it, so I picked it.” I just smiled inside.

It is time for me step back a little and trust. The last 18 years of love, lectures and even our lack as parents, has been covered by the grace of God. It is time to let our son go, a little more.

I have learned over the last 18 years that the letting go is really more about changing your grip. When my son was just a little boy, he ran into my arms when he fell down and my kisses could cure most everything (except for a few necessary runs to the ER for stitches here and there). Yesterday, he took a spill playing basketball and ripped some skin on his hand. As soon as I saw it, I knew that the chances of proper wound care were minimal because it would require him enduring my “mothering” just a little more than his 6’3″ frame can take these days. As expected, he wouldn’t wait for me to find the proper ointment before he slapped a Band Aid on it. So, I will go into stealth mom mode and monitor it for any first signs of infection over the next couple of days. That is what I call a change of grip.

Somewhere along the way “Mommy” became, just “Mom”, and “Daddy” became “All Knowing One” before he too morphed into just,” Dad.”

I still can’t help myself though sometimes, well OK, most of the time. “Did you eat breakfast?” “Do you have something warm to put on?” “Are you sure?” “Do you want one more just in case?” “Make sure you drive safe.” “Why don’t you invite your brother?” “Where are you going?” “Did you thank them?” “Don’t overstay your welcome.” “You need your rest.” “Take a banana with you.” “Have a good day, love you.” Such comments are met with the same never to be mistaken look that always leaves me just a little humbled. But I am compelled to speak regardless, even knowing that my “mothering” is more the source of a good chuckle than anything else at this stage of his life. Recently I heard him mimicking me as he was leaving the house without adequate nutrition. The last thing I heard before the door closed were my words repeated back to me, “Would you like me to pack you a fruit bowl?” Emphasis on the words, “fruit bowl” with a hint of mocking. It even made me laugh.

I see him across a room and I just think, wow, he is really all grown up. But then, I take comfort because I know better. I am learning the art of changing my grip. And I will admit, it is a much looser grip than that of his childhood. If fact, the grip today is held only by bonds of mutual love and respect. But that is enough. Before he headed off to bed from his all night party in the early morning hours, he asked me about getting his own checking account set up. I think, he might even want me to go with him.

3 Responses to “Changing the Grip. Letting Go of a Graduating Senior”
  1. Kim Chaffin says:

    Lori wonderful words that I can so relate to. As you know I was in your shoes last year and my relationship has so changed with Tanner. He seems to want to protect me now and than every once in a while he has said to me, Mom, can I have some mom time. I am like a kid turned loose in a candy store at that moment.

    Last night I had dinner with Tanner, your wonderful son and, Tanner D., I love the conversation and time with young adults. After dinner it was back to the hotel for milk and cookies in the Lobby. Seemed to be the highlight of Tanner and Hunter’s night. I had a cookie and was heading to bed and right there in the middle of the lobby full of baseball players and coaches, Tanner said to me as I turned to leave, “wait mom, Hugs!”. For that second Lori as you put it, I got to grip a little harder as I hugged him.

    Hang on to the fact that no matter how old Hunter gets, he still is going to need his mom, just in new ways.

    Wonderful words thanks for sharing and for making me cry a little

  2. Jannena Carothers says:

    Just finish reading your blog for the first time in a year…and found myself in tears again! I think the small flood began when Hunter chose the popcorn maker for the whole family!! How sweet was
    that!! And what a great popcorn maker it is! Enjoyed the fruit of that gift just recently.. big shout out to you Hunter,”Well Done!” and Thank-you for leaving it at home!! Still would have like to seen you and your 6ft 3″ frame! Where has the time gone.. just yesterday our boys were flooding the sand box and taking turns burying Charity in the sand!! It seem so much safer than say,”Africa”..:)So Friend,they all turned out Good,so proud of all of them!! Thankful to God for His Faithfulness and Thankful He made you all a part of our journey…It’s been a great adventure!!
    And there’s of course much more to come…Here’s to friendship and Motherhood the oldest and most rewarding job on earth!

    P.S I’m one year ahead of you and still miss Joshua almost everyday!!
    Just saying!!

  3. Shanda says:

    I always love reading your thoughts, Lori! They combine the wisdom of motherhood, the grace of one who’s received grace, the strength of one who’s learned to walk a changing path and lean on God, and a perspective that brings both tears and laughter:). Love to you. Thanks for sharing the journey of your heart. I am coming to that season of release…and I remember the thought of releasing bringing tears to my eyes when I was pregnant with my first and reading a chapter on “give them roots and give them wings”… You can pray for me and the loosening of my grip:)

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