Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Mama Growth

 It was a rainy spring day in 2008.  Some of our family lived nearby and some lived farther away.  JJ had just turned seven, and Ava was about to turn five.  I'm not quite sure what I was thinking, but I sat down and Googled, "how to create a blog" and Blogger's website popped up.  I hadn't given it much thought really, I just started an account and began writing.  It took me a few days to learn how to turn on my camera and upload photos onto the computer, and even longer to figure out how to post them within my new blog.
 It began as a way to document life with kids... I didn't know if any of my family would be excited to see and read about it at the time.  As life unfolded, it became a gift to myself.  A place to connect with so many of you and share my heart, ideas, faith, and the occasional kid-filled stories.  It was a great place to escape when I was homeschooling, often being my only contact with other Mama's during those days.  But it's always had a big place in my heart as it documented the growth and changes happening in my life.  I've found that I am often so encouraged by vomiting out my vulnerabilities and struggles and encouragements along the way.  Being transparent, and offering it as a gift. 
 Rain is pouring from our gutters, and the skies are "Washington gray" once again.  As I sit down to edit photos and prepare this post, it's clear that I've come to another place of change.  I'm hoping those of you who have gone a little before me can nod your head and promise me that this is inevitable... the way things are supposed to be, and encourage me on.  You're so good at that.  Maybe as you comment in, those of us with younger children in our care will be reassured...
 And the place I'm speaking of, is learning to let go and make room for growth.  JJ is eleven now, and pushing for independence in various places.  Adrain is really good at letting him be a boy and "go for it."  Me... not so much.  I still see my baby in so many ways.  Is that normal?  I look at this gangly boy with long, skinny limbs and want to fold him up on my lap and rock him like I used to.  (For the record, he still attempts that, but is now only inches shorter than I am and it's getting harder and harder for him to fit on my lap.)
 Adrain and I both grew up in small counties.  I was a country girl before it was cool, living in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it-town in Montana.  When I was eleven, I remember hitting the banana seat, ditching it beside a creek, and jumping off rocks and swinging way out from low-hanging willow branches.  I remember friends cooking creek trout over a fire we somehow made with leaves and branches and never told our parents about.  I remember no cell phones, no worries, and having to be back when my dad whistled really loud, it started to get dark, or front porch lights flickered on and off.  I remember getting into problems and solving them all by myself.  I remember that we didn't worry too much about strangers because we knew every car and person in town and if someone we didn't know happened to drive down our gravel road, everyone on the street was staring at them, so surely they felt those watchful eyes and towed the line. 
 I don't remember a lot of restrictions.  I remember glorious freedom.  I remember friends with horses, saddles optional, and I remember getting sweaty and covered in dirt, every. single. day.  I remember going away to summer camp for a week and only mildly missing my parents.  Most of what I remember was fun.  And here's where I come to the point.  I don't live in that world anymore.  None of us do, and I'm not very confident on how to navigate the waters of letting go in today's world.  This morning, my first baby... my nearly-as-tall-as-me sized boy got onto his bike, and excitedly rode off down the road to school by himself.  It's not that far away... maybe a mile?  But it's my JJ.  And lest you read this and think I'm an overprotective freak (which of course I may be) please remember that JJ has always been a unique parenting deal for us... different from most of our friends which makes it difficult to relate and often find parent mentors that approach the thing from the same side.  With his diagnosed issues, we haven't been in a place of peace as his parents, trusting him to consistently make right choices.  Not that he makes constant bad choices... but he requires more structure than most kids his age.  Rules that don't seem to apply to others his age, still very much apply to JJ for various reasons that would take too long to detail here. 
Yet in spite of that, I know it's time to begin loosening the reigns. I don't want to squash his adventurous spirit, but I'd  be lying if I said it didn't freak me out of my mind worrying that he'll do the right thing, go the right place and come home safely if I'm not watching over him.  I would like to add, that in my particular situation, his diagnosed issues are merely in the realm of impulsivity, not capability.  That's all I'll say on that because I prefer to keep his diagnosis on the down-low.  1) Because my son can actually read my blog and 2) I never want to give too many details now that we know what the issues really are as a privacy safeguard.  I do share in general terms because so many of you are able to relate in many ways.  Also I do want to clarify that we did pray about it last night while making the decision, and he found another neighborhood boy to ride with before we ever gave the go-ahead. We also sent him with a cell phone and he called upon arriving at school. It was well planned and thought out on our part as parents.  

So my question to you is, how do you let go when you sense it's the right time? I know this is only the beginning...  How do you trust them to be safe in an unsafe world even if you pray over them constantly?  How do you find any peace with the changes you have to make as they grow? 



(And you still have until Friday to enter my giveaway, here.)

35 comments:

  1. This post hit home with me, Sasha. Our oldest child is a 17 year old boy. my heart still races as he takes hits dirt bike off on a ride and until I hear it returning. I always let out the breathe that I have been holding. The same goes for driving. I don't have answers for you, unfortunately other than what you are doing. You pray. You teach him right from wrong. You pray. You teach him what to do in an emergency. You pray. You are a mom who loves and cares. You are not alone if that helps at all.

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  2. OK, my "baby" is 17. I ditto everything Jensamom23 wrote above. You pray a lot. You stay in touch with your kid's friends' parents. You set boundaries and enforce them, but you really try hard to figure out ways that they can be independent within the boundaries. And be very sensitive to the fact that your kid will want the boundaries to be as invisible as possible to their friends. Get to know their friends and have them over often. I have a daughter in college too and that is a lot of praying right there :) Every time my son, the new driver, takes the car, I pray until he texts that he arrived. And when he forgets to text (too often) and I am starting to panic, I need help from God to extend the grace that He gives so graciously to me. So know that you aren't alone and enjoy this time of budding independence because I think my kids are even more interesting and fun to be with as they get older and become the people (hopefully) that God intended them to be.

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  3. Oh. My. Gosh. Sasha, I can't even begin to imagine the terror in your heart as you watched him ride away. I saw the picture and thought to myself, "No, he didn't..." As my sweet & special boy is home with me and is never without one of his parents or his auntie, I have no words of wisdom for you. Only prayers that you find the peace you need to let go.
    May your babies be safe and secure in His hands.

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  4. Sasha your posts are always "spot on" with what we are dealing with in our "journey" as well! I read your words and often think, they are coming out of my own mouth. We have a soon-to-be ten year old who has also sent us through quite the parenting journey over the years and we are still looking for how best to navigate at times. The best piece of advice I would give you, you already do....PRAY! Then trust. You have educated him on matters and now he gets to go forth and take his steps in the journey. My husband is such a help to me (as a high school teacher)......he is often reminding me that our son (or any of our children) will take steps in his journey that will make us nervous. But they are his steps to take. For if we "helicopter" over him all the time, how will he grow? How will he learn? How will he problem-solve? My husband reminds me that there are times we will want him to make mistakes (hopefully ones that are smaller) so he can learn well and then get it right for the "real deal" as an adult! He will succeed and he will fail. We will love him either way, just as God loves us! (I remind myself of this OFTEN!)
    One area that we loosened the reigns this year was with walking to/from school. (Sound familiar?) Was I scared? Absolutely! But did I trust in him and God? Yes! It has turned out to be a wonderful opportunity of responsible freedom for him and for our parent-child relationship. I pray that such opportunities will give you and your family success and peace as well.
    Another thought ......Have you read the book Your Boy by Vicki Courtney? It is a good reference for Christian parents. (She has one for girls too.) I know reading that helped me too.
    Know that you are not alone. (We are right there with you in a parallel parenting situation across the country!) I'll be praying for you and your crew.
    Thanks for continuing to keep it real and open the conversation!
    Staci

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  5. My baby girl is 17-months-old. She's my first. I've thought long and hard about this subject since before she was even born. My dad tells of going to the funeral of a two year old around the time he and my mother were to stand up before our church family and dedicate their first born baby (me) to the Lord. He says that because he'd so recently seen other parents lose their baby he was impressed with the truth that I did not belong to him, but to God therefore his only choice was to take care of the gift God had asked him to care for and trust God's plan for my life. He's told that story for years, so when it was my turn to dedicate my sweet little Effie, I knew what I was doing and the meaning behind it. Then tornado season hit. (I live in the Midwest) I was an absolute wreck. I was stressed out any time the sun went behind a cloud. I lived for weeks in a stressed out, tense existence. I have to work outside our home for now and I'll never forget one day last spring when my husband was at work, my daughter at daycare and myself huddled in the basement at my workplace desperately trying to get in touch with either of them. And I remember sensing God's question: "Is she really mine, Danielle? Did you mean it when you stood before me and dedicated her life to me? Did you mean it?" That was last spring, and I I can't count the number of times God's asked me the same thing in the last year. "Is she REALLY mine? Do you REALLY trust me to choose the path for her life that I would choose?"
    I'm not surprised to hear that it's no different when our kids are 11-years-old or at 17. Probably not at 25 or at 42 either. Since this is so new and fresh for me I can tell you immediately what my answers to your questions are. I must trust the work of God in her life. I ask him to care for her, provide for her, protect her, but I must release her into his care and allow that like me, she is a child of God who has free will. This is SO difficult and something I must choose to do over and over again.
    This might sound crazy, but you've all encouraged me today. In some weird way, its comforting to me to know that This is something God will continue to work with me on; that periodically in my daughter's life God will be heard asking me, "Is she really mine, Danielle?"

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  6. oh sasha, I hear you loud and clear. it was because of you and this blog that we were able to get our own son diagnosed with asperger's/autism spectrum and have been on a road to "new parenting" for the last 3 years. Nolan is now 7 and he too has restrictions and rules that don't seem to apply to kids his own age. They definitely weren't the same rules and restrictions we had for our now 9-year-old son, and they certainly don't apply to the "bound and determined" mind of our 3-year-old. However, they are his just the same and, admist all the struggles and frustration, is slowly becoming a new way of life for us. My husband is just like yours, wanting us to back off a bit and let him just be a boy and I agree that sometimes he needs that. I don't have any answers, am drowning in aspergers/spectrum self-help books, and find myself getting lost in blogs and websites from other parents in similar situations. I guess all we can do as parents of these very special children is trus that we are doing what is best for them and try to focus on the positive. Such as, "If I let him ride his bike down to the sandlot with his brother and his brother's friends, have I taught him enough coping skills to enjoy his independent time down there?" Questions that will haunt us for a lifetime I suppose. You're a good momma, he's a good boy, and trust me when I say I don't think he is missing out on anything! Thanks for always being so honest and real on your blog, it has personally made changes in my life that I will be forever greatful for!

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  7. This is a very hard issue for me as well. Our son is almost 18, and our daughter, 14. They have very different personalities. I have always worried more over our son. Our daughter is much more self-motivated, and sure of herself and what is right and wrong. I used to drop her off in the pre-school Sunday school class and say, "Be a good girl" and she would say, "Mama - I always AM!" and the teachers would nod their heads. My son, well, not so much. He's just a normal boy -- and really a gem, so don't get me wrong on that point. We homeschooled until 11th grade, when I had to let go of that. It was really time for him to be able to spread his wings more. He and I were growing to dislike one another at home. Putting him in school has made a huge difference in our home & family dynamics.

    Sometimes, even when you trust your KIDS, it's hard to know how much to "trust" the world, and how much freedom to give. One thing that I would tell you is not to get bogged down by what others around you do -- what their limits are for their children. You have to know YOUR children, and what is appropriate. Nobody else can tell you what that is.

    The other thing -- and I know you know this -- is that you have to bathe them in prayer. I have always known/done this, but those teen years really bring this back into sharp focus! My son walks out the door in the morning, and I pray, pray, pray. This is for HIM, and yet it calms ME as a mom as well, and helps me leave things at the foot of the cross -- rather than constantly worrying.

    Sometimes I take the weight of the world on my shoulders and completely
    ?forget? that I have a LORD that is waiting to carry it for me. That "old nature" really likes to take charge! When my memory kicks in, I plead for guidance, and for the right path to be revealed for our kids, for our parenting, for limits, for realistic expectations. When I remember to give it all over to the LORD, he has never failed to surprise us!

    Be encouraged, Friend. ~Sally

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  8. Sasha, as a parent who has completed this journey (for the most part) with grown children, and now young grandchildren, all I can say is that there will be times that they will do things that you will neither have knowledge of or control over. These are the times they make their own choices, express their own wills and develop their own directions in life. The bike rides to school are the start of this process of decoupling from you as caregiver and parent of a child to you and JJ as interacting adults--though you will never stop being a parent. You have a few years of this journey ahead and there will likely be misdirections along the way.

    Give the kids the space to grow and the time to do so, be careful of too much criticism and be realistic in the bounds you place on them--tailored to their specific needs and temperaments, of course. When the time is right, give them the tools that might help in case of difficulty: education of what is right and wrong, what to do and not do with the opposite sex, what to do and not do with their peers and other adults. Instill in them the need to be aware of where they are and who they are with. In time, consider letting them have cell phones. In the good old days, a dime or a quarter in a pocket was all that was necessary for that emergency call home--today cell phones are much better and always close at hand since pay phones are now relics of a bygone era.

    Finally, and this I know you and Adrain are doing as loving parents, stay involved with them in their activities, and get to know their friends like they were an extension of your family. Trust in your own instincts, say no when necessary but cut slack when needed. Help them through the trying times and don't forget that you are not their friend, you are their parent. Friendship between you comes once they are grown. One more thing, let JJ sit on your lap or next to you all that he wants. It will do both of you more good than you can imagine.

    Love you.
    Uncle Larry

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  9. shoot... i know nothing about letting go (yet!). one day though, i know the time will come and it will be hard. i think about dancing with Hunter on his wedding day and sob. and that is like 20+ years away. : )

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  10. Wow! Great questions and great discussion! We may just need to meet for coffee to discuss this further. :)

    I am one of those "older women" who has been.there.done.that. . . . with 6 kids grown and gone, and 6 kids still at home. And, I think my answer may surprise some of you ...

    My initial reaction is "What? You let him go a mile on his bike by himself? At just 11, and with some "special needs"?" I have a 10 year old boy and a 12 year old boy (without special needs) and they would not be going a mile away by themselves (and we live in a smaller, "safer" community than you do). Why? Because of exactly what you said . . . "we don't live in that world anymore", the world of carefree independence that we grew up in.

    While I am ALL about giving our children wings . . . letting them explore the world . . . encouraging independence; I do not want to push them out of the nest too soon. I believe that today's society is really pushing our kids to grow up too soon. Parents are releasing their hands of protection before the child is 13, rather than at 16 or 18. Parents are telling their kids to "grow up", when they should still be holding them close (and snuggling on the couch). Parents are allowing kids to make decisions that their hearts and minds are not ready to make.

    continued . . .

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  11. Now, before you think that I am some over-protective crazy mama that never lets my kids out of my sight . . . it is really just the opposite. While we have held them close through Middle School . . . we have encouraged them to FLY before many of their peers are ready. We allowed a 16 year old daughter to go to Haiti on a mission trip just 6 weeks after 9-11 (when most people were afraid to get on an airplane, much less go to a third world country). We allowed 4 of our kids, at different times, (ages 14-16) to ride the Greyhound bus across the country without an adult (but ALWAYS with a friend or sibling). One son took the bus by himself to N. Dakota at about age 15. But . . . at ages 10, 11, 12 they were still fully supervised and guided.

    Freedom and responsibility also has a LOT to do with the individual character of each child. Neither my current 12 or 13 year old are anywhere close to being ready to hop across the country with a friend or sibling. They need more supervision than some of their older siblings did. We need to look at them as individuals, giving freedom and responsibility according to what THEY can each handle, regardless of what their friends or siblings are allowed to do.

    On the flip side . . . it is GOOD to be aware that it is difficult for some Mamas to release their growing children. My older 6 kids are 21, 23, 23, 25, 26, 27. In the past 10 years, 5 of them have traveled the world on mission trips . . . going to Mexico, Costa Rica, Haiti, Senegal, The Gambia, Liberia, Chile, Argentina (for 3 years), Germany, U.K., Czech Republic, India, Bangladesh, Jordan (for 1 year), and Iraq (serving in the army there for 2 1/2 years). I have released them. I have cheered them on. I have missed them. I have prayed for them. And, the Lord has done a mighty work in them and through them.

    Now ... your 11 year old ... let him snuggle, allow a little freedom here and there, but if your heart tells you not to allow him out alone, than keep him home. The city is a difficult (and oftentimes unsafe) place for even teens to navigate, and it may not yet be the place that your special needs 11 year old needs to conquer.

    As you know, we live in a smaller and safer community. My son and his wife live "in the county". They are both runners, and I gave up worrying about them many years ago. However, my daughter-in-law was recently out running ALONE (on a Sunday afternoon). She was hit by a car. She flew through the air, cut her head, and was knocked unconscious. Thankfully, a witness stopped, called 911, got into the ditch with our sweet H., and cared for her until the paramedics had arrived. Yet ... what if there had not been a witness? I just do NOT advocate much ALONE time (for runners, walkers, bike riders), especially until they are older teens.

    My two cents ... or a chapter of a novel. Let me know if you want to "do coffee". I'd love to meet up on one of my trips into "the city". :)


    Laurel
    mama of 12: (ages) 10, 10, 12, 13, 15, 18, 21, 23, 23, 25, 26 27

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  12. In short, I have to agree with Mama D. This world isn't what it was when we were kids. If you feel you're not ready, and your discerning heart is telling you that it's too soon, then it probably is.

    I feel this tugging on my heart because of some of the independence desires of my girls, who are still young.

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  13. Sasha, I believe that every mama has an inner voice that will tell her what is right or wrong for each child. Believe in your choices, believe that God is guiding you ,just as you are guiding your son. I know the process isn't easy but with your husbands and Gods help you will raise a healthy and confident young man!

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  14. Ohh, this post made me feel for you! My girls are 5 & 3, and I know I will have a very hard time letting them go a little at a time! I think most parents do!

    You lived in MT growing up?? Where at? We just moved here from WI!

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  15. It's hard. Really really hard. It's also wonderful. When my son first started driving, 2 weeks later he drove his truck through a brick wall - literally - a neighborhood wall. After seeing the wall sitting on his windshield, I physically got sick. I however knew then that God was watching over him. He came out without even a scratch on him. Next he left for college - 4 hours from home :( I felt like someone died....really. We couldn't eat in the dining room because I didn't want to see his empty chair - cried everyday for hmmmmmm...... a month - seriously. THEN, my baby started driving by.her.self. this month. She turned 16 - so my worries continue but I have faith in God that they both make good choices - they are not perfect but they are good kids. I love this stage/age - they are my kids but also my friend :) By everything I have seen on your blog, you are a good mama. You have beautiful children who have been guided in the right direction! You will survive :) xoxoxo

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  16. As I sat to respond with not so many words of wisdom--as I'm not here yet, there was a bunch of chirping in the back yard. "Feeding time," I thought to myself as I looked to the nest above our patio speaker. I had to stand up to get a better look, because I swear the little beaks now belonged to bigger birds. And then I saw mama bird on a line across the way--and all the chattering was because one of the little birdies had joined her. There was one still quite content sitting in the nest but making noise--and then another just ruffling its feathers and walking the perimeter of the nest squawking and trying to make a decision to fly. And I just stood and watched, thinking about you and the timeliness of this moment. That mama bird sat perched on the wire and her little one kept flying back to the nest and then off again as if encouraging its sibling to follow suit. This continued for a bit--so I grabbed my camera and snapped away (blog post for another time) and the mama bird just sat perched on that wire watching and waiting. In fact, she still sits as I type. Mama bird is just waiting and watching. Now sometimes the most fearful things we face are those times they are out of our sight. . .but then I think of Jeremiah 29--and He knows the plans He has for my kids already. their stories have been written on His heart and now they unfold for me to wait and watch. We can love, pray, guide, and nurture. . .but eventually it has to be from a distance, waiting and watching--I'm going to email you the pictures. God's timing never ceases to amaze me: )

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  17. I am SO thankful for this post! I'm excited to read all the responses! My 1st born baby will be in third grade which makes her old enough to attend the camp with our church. That means 5 days away from me! SO not prepared for such decisions! Thankful to read all your readers' words of wisdom!
    Your a MT girl! Me too! Would love to know what that lil' city was! :)

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  18. I'm so not really the person to ask. I'm always the last mom to let my girls try something. This year I let her walk to the bus stop...and I can't see it. And she's 12!! She still wears a one piece and only recently got a cell phone. That's just where we are comfortable. I think every family, every child, every circumstance is different. You go with your gut and the level of responsibility they have shown and then you open your palm and let them fly. Praying the whole time of course;)

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  19. My heart started racing thinking about my son riding his bike to school and he's 2!!! I don't know if your ever really ready as a parent to give our babies the reigns. My mama still tells me to drive safe and worries if she can't get ahold of me...and I'm turning 30 very soon!!!!!!

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  20. yep, i'm right there too. aiden is almost 11. he IS allowed to go around the block on his bike. while i freak out the whole time and pray he uses his bear grylls knife he carries if he needs to. but, he's NOT allowed to go to the park a block away by himself {major creepos}. SUCH a hard thing. i'm like you...i picture sunny,dusty dirt lanes where the kids can run free til we ring the dinner bell when they come in hot and full of a good time. it's just not the same now,sadly. i constantly question myself, but feel that we are making the decsions God has given us wisdom in. i'm also dealing with being the stricter parent as far as no pg-13 movies, no sleep overs {sorry, the world is SCAR.Y.}, no interenet on other people's computers,etc.

    ahhhh, i feel grey hairs sprouting...

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  21. oh girl...don't ask me these questions. i'm the worst ever!! i homeschool for gosh sakes...talk about letting go!! :) i cannot stand this growing thing. i'm seriously considering having another baby just because it's breaking my heart. i need to really commit to praying about it, i just haven't...i'm even too scared to pray and ask if God thinks it's a good idea...gosh darn i'm a headcase!!! :)

    we don't do sleep overs
    no two pieces.
    no going into other people's houses without us there (unless they're really close friends that we know really well)
    no cartoon network (except for tom and jerry)
    and no high fructose corn syrup

    yep. headcase.

    good luck, sash...i'm no help.

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  22. No matter how old they are you will still be mothering. This past weekend I hit another mothering milestone and my son is 25...http://www.holcombehappenings.blogspot.com/2012/06/learning-to-let-gotime-to-step-aside.html
    I sit and think of all the times I wish I had back...even the tough ones! It's funny how they will never stop tugging at our heart strings!

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  23. I am right there with you too! Our oldest daughter is 11 soon to be 12 and I hesitate to let her go out of town for the weekend with a friend she's been close to for a whole year! 2 1/2 hours away and who else is gonna be there and does her mom watch them around water the way I do and on and on. It's really tricky I agree with some of the other comments though that God gave us momma bears our natural instincts for our children and we need to use them. If you are sick to your stomach over the idea it's got to be a no. If it's just a case of loosen the reigns a bit listen to that feeling too - even if it's uncomfortable! Thank God for instincts because no one else can or should tell you what is right for your children!
    Great post!
    Olivia

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  24. i completely understand all of this.
    my oldest is thirteen, we home school and we are uber protective, too. :)
    years ago, things were different, like you said.
    i cringed today when my eldest rode her bike 1/4 mile down the road to babysit.

    oy.

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  25. I don't have time this evening to read all of the comments, but I hope to come back to them. When you figure out this letting go thing, could you let me know? ;) We have the same struggle.

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  26. Little by little we should give them independance go with what you feel in your gut & your instincts, looks like your going in the right direction by giving him the freedom to bike to school he must be so proud of himself.

    One day at a time.

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  27. I'm no help. I struggle with letting my cuties (oldest 6) even go for a sleep over to grandma's! It is an hour and half away and for me, a mama who is always. with. her. children that is very very far- even with family members. We home school and just yesterday was thinking I'm so glad I don't have to worry about them while they are away at school.

    Best of luck! And not knowing your sons situation, y'all must be so proud (even though scared!) about him riding his bike to school.

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  28. I have the same problems with "letting go". I always instinctively say "NO", but my husband reminds me to loosen up. They are growing up and it's hard to navigate the way when it's been up to us to keep them safe for so long. I think I'm slowing learning a little every day. I hope I'm learning, because I would hate to be one of those freakish overprotective parents. You know, the parent I am inside. ;-)
    ~FringeGirl

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  29. It's really hard to let go. I have an 11 and 16 year old. Whenever I want to say no to stuff that they want to do, I always stop and analyze the situation first. If the probability is that they will be okay, I usually give in, despite my reservations. They are their own people. They deserve their own experiences in life. They deserve to live life. I also know if I don't loosen the reins and let them discover how capable they are, they are liable to turn into non-functioning adults, to a degree. I want them to be confident about themselves as people and confident about their decision making skills. I know my kids are good kids and they are smart and they know good situations vs. bad situations. It's hard, but we are raising them to take care of themselves in the future. We can't hang over them every second of the day, because we won't be there to guide them in the future.

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  30. It is hard to develop independent children yet keep them close at the same time. Trust your gut. No one knows your children better than you. Above all, if they know they are loved, capable and confident, they will be just fine.

    This motherhood gig is a hard one, but undeniably the best! My favorite job and hat to wear is that called Mom!

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  31. Oh Sasha - I can very much relate to you on this issue! Our special boys are such a precious gift from God, so uniquely formed by His good plan for His divine purpose. Being entrusted with the care and nurturing of these special boys is an often overwhelming task that drives us Mama's to our knees pleading for strength, wisdom and the sense to enjoy and embrace growth. With each milestone our guys need added freedoms and responsibilities. They need to learn to focus and address themselves wholly to the task at hand, and yet they also need to fail miserably within the relative safety of our care, and to learn from those failures. It's such a balancing act, and on my best day, I do not do it as well as I would like to. With our family, just keeping our wonderful boy alive, out of life threatening trouble and away from any combustible matter for the last 11 years has been a 24/7 occupation - so as we see these changes and maturity it's extra hard to let him go. Remembering that our children have been entrusted to us by God and that their days have been ordered by Him helps so much with the tearing I feel as my baby boy becomes a man of God. It's such a beautiful picture of that saturating kind of love that the Father has for us - that He loves our children more deeply, intimately, and completely than we ever can comforts my immeasurably. I'll be praying for you Sasha!

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  32. Oh boy what a tough one, that letting go and letting our babies venture out into the world they way they should.... your a couple years ahead of our family so I'm gleaning all I can since our family dynamic is extremely similar. My JJ (yes I've had more than a few chuckles on this one, out of curiosity is your youngest also an AG?) is 8 and needs all those same clearly defined rules and regulations for what I'm guessing is similar reasons. Not for nothing but I think just so he knows how far he can stretch them before he is reigned in. While I'm not ready for him to head down town by himself on his bike we are talking about being obedient, responsible, honouring and trustworthy in the little things so that when the big things come we know better about where he will land. Its still a 50/50 I'm hoping that as he grows and matures it will improve and become more 80/20. Cause lets face it sometimes our biggest failures/mistakes are our and our kids greatest learning opportunities. A revelation has been hitting me lately about our Heavenly Father and the kind of parent he is and how he allows us to venture out on our own when he thinks we are ready, allows us to stumble a bit even fall sometimes and yet is always there to wrap us up in his great big arms and fix us up talk us thru the mistake/failure and with our new found wisdom releases us again. While it is super hard that is the kind of parent I want to be.
    All the best to you and your family!

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  33. I've loved reading through all of your comments here....learning so much from so many smart mamas. :)

    I'm in the throws of learning the balance of letting go just enough to teach them responsibility but holding them close enough to protect them the way I'm called to.

    The best advice that I've received in the past couple of years is to begin letting them make some decisions {age appropriate} so that they can learn all about natural consequences. This is how they learn and grow. I was told by several very wise women who have traveled these roads before me that it is good for them to "suffer" some natural consequences while living under your roof and receiving your wisdom and guidance.

    The key is to pray and go with your gut...I'm learning this slowly but surely. I have to be sure not to slip into people pleasing or looking for approval from others in my parenting. God gave them to us....no one loves our kids or prays for them like us...so no one else gets a whole heck of a lot of "say so" about our choices for them. :)

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