“Give children wings to fly and roots to return” – Waleuska Lazo
I knew this moment was going to come. After all, ever since she was born, I dreamed about what college/university she was going to go to, but when that moment actually comes, nothing really prepares you for it.
As I was making her bed in her dorm room, so many memories flashed before me. It was just yesterday I brought her home from the hospital and now here I was given a two-hour window to drop her off and leave her in her new home. Where did the time go?
I remember dropping her off on her first day of JK and this little girl cried for hours for me. I cried too. I hid behind a wall outside the school and peeked through the exterior window to see if she was ok.
As much as she was feeling the separation, I was too. We had been connected at the hip for so long. For 10 straight days my little girl cried as I dropped her off at school, and so did I.
On our drive to the Western University I was warned not to cry, “Mommy, please don’t cry. I will be home in a few days to visit,” she said. What a change from the JK days, I thought. As a mom, nothing really prepares you to let go. I know it is the natural course of life to see her go and tackle the next stage of her life, but boy, I was having some major anxiety. I had to fight to hold the tears. She looked so happy; I did not want to ruin her moment. We had bought all her new dorm room things during the summer months for this big day — Drop Off Day!
I was worried about her being able to leave the nest. Victoria was the kind of kid who was timid and never wanted to be away from me. So, sleepover camps were never a thing for her. A sleepover with friends was also not a big thing for her.
Due to her early years of selective mutism, I overprotected her and kept her under my warm embrace. Any travel, we always did together. Aside from a few nights on her high school field trips, Victoria and I did not want to be apart.
My beautiful baby was now a young woman ready to take a leap of faith and leave the nest. This incredible being was now ready to extend her wings and fly. I stood right next to her, as moms always do, ready to catch her in case she fell, but to my surprise, she extended her arms, kissed me goodbye, and flew. She flew without hesitation as if she knew she was born to soar high.
I fought the impulse we mothers have to still hold on a few more minutes, but with a lump in my throat, I let her go. Now it’s her time to discover what she’s made of, time for her to apply and put into practice all I taught her with love and devotion. Now was also my time to trust what we spent the past 18 years building.
But why is so difficult to let go?
I hear her voice each morning and each night. We talk about her day and sometimes the conversations are so short, but the sound of her voice is enough to appease my heart.
“Did you eat breakfast?
What did you have for dinner?
How was class? What did you learn?
Do you miss Mommy?
Did you make sure you locked your car?
Make sure when you walk from campus that you are never alone. If you are alone and you sense someone walking behind you, run.
Use your pepper spray.
What do you mean you don’t want to rent the condo in the building I found?
What do you mean socially it is more fun to be in a house?
I don’t think a house is as safe
What??? You got a new piercing in your ear? Why did you not mention it to me before doing it?”
I guess the reason is self-explanatory, but that felt different. My baby who consulted me on everything, actually made a decision of her own.
She is on her own, making her own decisions –I am not used to that. My helicopter pilot light is still on, but definitely losing power. Does that mean she does not need me anymore? Am I not indispensable? She is ok without me? She is actually loving being away and being independent?
Why is it so difficult to let go?
After all, this is what I planned for her entire life; for her to feel confident and safe to go and take on the world. It was what I’ve always dreamed for her; to have the courage to face her fears, to choose her own path, to grow and evolve, to make her own decisions, to make mistakes and learn from them, to love freely, to be herself, to find her resilience and inner strength, to make new friends, to seek other connections, to chase her dreams, to discover her passions.
So, do I tell her that each time she comes home my heartbeat finally returns?
Do I tell her that each time we say goodbye a part of my soul leaves with her?
Do I tell her that I think of her every moment of my day?
Do I tell her that when I hold her in my arms my world feels so complete?
Why is it so difficult to let go?
Do all mothers feel this torn? We know that a good mother is the one who makes herself dispensable, unnecessary, one who helps her children develop into confident, productive adults but on the other hand, we are left feeling empty without them. Yet, if we have done our job correctly, then we must accept becoming dispensable. We must understand that our children come through us but they are not for us. We must understand that our mission was for them to hatch from our embrace and fly free at last.
But why is it so difficult to let her go?
Dedicated to my beautiful Victoria!
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I could hav written most of this…..
Nobody can take a place of mother in whole universe 👩👧👧🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌
This really resonated with me and brought me back 3 yrs ago when I dropped my son off at University. The summer leading up to ‘the drop off’, I had many occasions when I would (privately) start sobbing just thinking of my first born not being with us. How would he manage school, social AND taking care of himself?? That day, I was not able to control my emotions and had many, many times when I became emotional. All good tears thinking how quickly time had gone that I was now leaving my child in this new place, with strangers. I had to let go of the innate instinct of protecting my child and let him go, explore, enjoy and start a new life without me. The hardest thing ever. Such conflicting emotions. Now, I am readying myself for our younger son, who will also be embarking on this journey on September 2021. 🙁
Maria thank you so much for sharing your experience
Yes but you understand when the time comes
Very empowering indeed love ❤️ this post
What a beautiful, touching story. This would make a great video. ✨💗✨
I hear you, and I totally get it, it’s not easy, but we don’t own them, seeing them flourish should be our goal, letting go and living our life and always being available to them, because they will always need mommy for one thing or another and you’ll see that as she gets older she will be closer again. Be proud of her and let her fly, what is life if not one big adventure ❤️
Wow! I am crying my eyes out! . So beautiful 😭
You’re experiencing the Empty Nest syndrome.
This is an end of a phase for you . You need to begin a nrw phase.
Being a mother is now no longer your whole goal in life. You must move forward abd discover YOU..and create a new TOU…the old one you’re clinging too. Its a grieving process but also a very new exciting ng time as you Begin a new Phase in your life. All the best. Xo
Beautifully expressed… and such truth. And clearly you did your job… now you get to also fly and find new & different wings too
That is a deep quote most understanding wings to fly.. but roots to come back too is even deeper …
Sometimes when they leave “the nest” wise or unwise parents ” fly the coop” instead of preparing for the changes that might return.
Stability with age is not always the path some take ( my take on this lovely post)
That is so beautiful Waleuska Lazo, it took me back to my days of letting go.God be with her and precious Mamma
Wow Waleuska so poignant. So glad she is ready to fly and you will adjust. This will take your relationship with her to a whole new level. Sending lots of love ❤️
I know exactly what you mean,I had that with both of my beautiful daughters,this is a really beautiful piece ❣️
Its difficult, to let go but be proud of her and her accomplishments
Kahil Gibran says of our children. You may house their bodies but not their souls.
My daughter is 4… I cherish every moment with her… can’t believe my time to let go is still to come…
So beautifully written Waleuska Lazo❤️. I am sure Mothers from all over understand.
One of the hardest things I’ve done as a mum.. 4 more to go…
It’s totally beautiful article of mother’s feeling for her children when they go out side for making their future and life for leaving their mother and waleuska you are really lucky that you have two blessed and loving daughters and both of them too much love you and both are very sincere and disciplined
My daughter is 31 next week. This hauled up the agony of delivering her to the northwestern U.S. for college when I live in the southeast. Found it hard just to breathe for weeks. The only thing that saved me was that I was starting a new job that fall (I’m a college professor), so I had ‘things’ to occupy my mind. She was always independent but I had been a single mom for 11 years. Just her and me. Didn’t really believe I could live without her. I fought with myself every day not to call her, but let her reach out when she wanted to. That first year she only called a few times a month. We met in Denver with her dad’s family for Christmas. I spent my spring break with her and she came to me for most of that summer. But oh, what a summer. I had been afraid of literally dying of empty nest syndrome and taken up horseback riding in my little rural community. She was smitten. We rode all summer together. Her sophomore year, she called a bit more often, came to ride over Christmas, came back for the next summer. By the time she was a senior, I told her that I appreciated that she was calling more often (at least once / week) and she said : “But Mommy – I need you!”. My heart melted. When she graduated, she came to live here. Her dad in Denver, her college friends on the other side of the continent, her high school friends 1200 miles from where I now call home…she came here. In 2015 she married a local man. Last year they bought 70 acres 10 minutes outside of town where they’re building a horse farm where we can move our horses from the boarding facility. “If you love someone, set them free. If they come back, they’re yours; if they don’t, they never were.”
Oh dear I am now in foods of tears, I can so relate to this having recently sent both my two precious children of to college and uni. They are both now back home again because of the pandemic, it’s been a real roller coaster of emotions and now in the new year I will have to go through it all again😔But keep the posts coming on this wonderful site, you are doing an amazing job Joanne. Sending hugs 💕xx
Like every loving mother. Your daughter has been brought up with so much love and care. She will be secure and happy in her new place and eager to go back to you at every opportunity and love will grow more or she will become more aware of the deep love and care she has received from you.
God bless her with all the best of life.
BALANCED LOVE IS BOTH FAR AND NEAR. IF THE UNIVERSE DOES NOT TEST HER ON EQUAL FOOTING WITH ALL HUMANITY, THEN SHE WILL BE WEAK WITHOUT PURPOSE FOR LIVING. THE PROOF YOU HAVE TRAINED HER WELL IS TO LET GO OF HER TO THE UNIVERSE SO SHE TEST HER. AFTER HAVING PASSED, SHE WILL GIVE HER VIRTUES OF LIFE TO FLY WITH HER RIGHT MAN FOR PURPOSE FOR DESTINY!
I felt one my older boy got his first work and found a house to live in. Spain delays that “empty hole in your heart” moment!!! Our kids study usually in a close by University… except periods of external training, in which we, parents, are slowly trained to miss them.
It is so so hard! When my eldest left to go to uni I sobbed for days, I’d play on our Wii just to see his Mii and sit in his room – but never let him see it. When he married as happy as I was for him it hurt that another woman had his heart, but I learnt to trust my daughter-in-law with my precious son. Then my daughter went to uni the next year, again, it hurt so much and she’s about to be married (well, we’ve had 2 cancellations so far due to Covid. I’m blessed that my daughter-in-law and future son-in-law are both wonderful people. I know in less than 2 years my youngest will fly the nest and go to uni and I will be left with my nest empty. My children know I love them more than life itself, and I think of them constantly but they never see me cry, that would be unfair as our wish for our children is to be happy and living a wonderful, full life, but oh it’s hard! I remember reading that when you have a child you live the rest of your life with part of your heart in another body. The connection is so strong. It does get easier, but when you love your child with your entire being, letting go is the hardest thing. But seeing them happy and knowing you’ve raised that child who is able to fly because they know that you’re always there to catch them is also a source of great joy xxx
My daughter is 32 and has a family of her own. We still talk every day ,now it is about the challanges of raising her son. But she is still part of my heart. I do love to watch her fly though.
Wow! This is so moving and poignant. I feel her love and her pain.
I will totally feel like this when my daughter (youngest of my three leaves). With my sons it’s been hard, but I think suddenly having an empty nest will be tough!
This will be me next year! Oh help me now.
Hands down, the most difficult thing I’ve had to experience.
This is such a beautiful sharing – thank you. I love hearing the stories of empty-nest mothers, memories, of love and letting go as we mothers also shift in new ways when the new young adults spread their wings and fly.
ugh i dread this! mine is 11. everything u say makes sense. i know mine will be incredibly independent and i will be brave like u but ughhhh its gonna hurt
And yes beautifully written.
Beautifully written! I know it must be difficult for all you moms, but just know that we are happy!!! I know my mom feels the exact same way as you!
Thank you so much Shelby. All we want is for our children to be happy
As Mothers, most of us go through these different stages in our children’s lives. We all worry about their safety, health, the experiences they will have, etc. After University, we hope they get a good job. Before we know it, they are getting married and have new things to be concerned about. The one thing that can be counted on is the love between a mother and child. That is forever.
Thank you mom.
Cried through this one. Definitely not ready for this. Never will be!!
A wonderful journey for you and for Victoria. Each growing and enriching each other every day in myriad ways no one can ever fathom. Victoria has come a long way since I held her moments after she arrived. I have been very blessed to share small snippets of her journey so far and to have helped her here and there with her journey to fly. You’ve come a long way too, Waleuska. You worked very hard for many years. Your unwavering love and devotion gives her the roots. Twenty-five years later it’s great to see you enjoy (with your breath held tight) her fledgling journey. Now you can both fly, each on your own journey, but never far from each other. A truly proud moment for you both!
Can I change what I wrote to say:
A wonderful journey for you and for Victoria. Each growing and enriching each other every day in myriad ways no one can ever fathom. Victoria has come a long way since I held her moments after she arrived. I have been very blessed to share small snippets of her journey so far and to have helped her here and there with her journey to fly. You’ve come a long way too, Waleuska. You worked very hard for many years. Your unwavering love and devotion gives her the roots. Eighteen years later it’s great to see you enjoy (with your breath held tight) her fledgling journey. Now you can both fly, each on your own journey, but never far from each other. A truly proud moment for you both!
Thank you. Beautiful words. I appreciate you being part of our journey.
Amor que bello lo que escribiste es muy cierto el día que se fue llore todo el día,y cada vez que viene a Toronto y se va de regreso estoy con ella orando y pidiéndole al Señor que me la cuide te quiero por educar a Victoria y enseñarle buenos modales, ella es acta para tomar sus deducciones muy bien que Señor te bendiga a ti por ser buena madre y yo como abuela la amo Mamita y a ti tu eres linda y dedicada a tus hijas por eso te amo a ti mucho más tu mamá.
It is unconditional love and love so strong that the bond is unbreakable.. those who reject their children knows no love ..
Wow… this is beautiful. I say hold yourself and howl dear sister…. ‘tll the tears have washed away the pain. In tribal lore, she’d be in the tent next door… not far away. You’d have your own support and a ceremony would have enabled your separation years ago. We have a created a strange culture have we not? Wonderfully though, the feminine’s ability to “howl-out” and breathe through the pain keeps us strong and alive and vibrant and ready for the next stage of our life…. You are certainly an author!
I had a difficult time when my first son left the nest. No one ever tells u how hard that actually is. We bolster ourselves up by joking with them….”when ur 18, ur out!”….but the reality is, it still sux! I sat in my son’s room for days n just cried. I’d open his bedroom door and just breathe the air. I miss him so much. But thankfully he only lives a half a mile away and his hugs still and always squeeze my mommy pieces back together!
Hang in there mama!
Beautiful. Crying here. My daughter runs 40 tomorrow. Been away to college. Came home still my bestie. Left again for law school. Indifferent and different. Mad about something. Doesn’t want to be close. Killing me softly, day by day.
What a beautiful essay with your raw emotions?! Thank you for sharing! I already get anxious how I would feel letting my child go away one day. Not easy to forget all those 18 years of closeness that a mother & child feel until the day they feel ready to make their own decisions.