I thought five hit me hard. You were going off to kindergarten that year. Each day you became a little more independent and self-sufficient, which in some ways was great, but as each birthday passed you seemed to gain more independence. But with more independence, the more you pulled away. As we celebrated each birthday and milestone of your childhood, it brought you closer to the one when you would head out to make your own way in this world.
As the old saying goes, “We only hold your hands for a little while,” and I’m seeing now that it’s so much harder to let go as the parent than it was when I was the child ready to let go to chase my own independence. I remember wanting to tell my parents to let me go, let me make my own path.
I didn’t understand the resistance. I was just young, thinking I was grown, and I didn’t think it should be so hard for them to understand and let me go. Oh, but I understand now. I know, child of mine, you’re ready to take on the world, but it’s so much harder to let you go than I thought.
As excited and as proud as we are as you prepare to go out on your own, remember this is your life to live. Now is the time to be true to yourself. The grown-up world may not always treat you kindly but know it is yours to conquer. If you work hard and take risks for the life you want to build, you can make it happen. Find your talents—and you have talent, don’t doubt that—and share them with the world. Know you are always enough. You are enough for the people who truly love you, and you are enough for the roles you play. Take risks. It takes risks to find great success.
Life will get busy and crazy but always hold those who love you near and make time for them because the older you get, the faster the sand will pass through the hourglass of time. It’s okay to grow up. I don’t want to let you sometimes, but I see the wonderful person you’re coming to be.
You don’t have to do stuff like us, be like us, or live your life like us. Create your version of greatness, and I know without a doubt you’re going to be great in your own individual way. Wherever the road may take you, we will be here to cheer you on, offer our support, and be the listening ear when you need it.
It wasn’t too long ago that we were at those opening gates where you are now standing with the world of possibility open. It’s amazing, but it can be hard and confusing. We made mistakes and so will you, but it will be okay. Now is when you take the first step away to start building the life you’ve imagined.
It’s hard to believe you have grown up. As your parents, with joy in our hearts and a little sadness because it went so fast, we wish you the very best as you embark on your future. Go on now, child of mine, the world is waiting for you!