Wednesday, July 23, 2014
The Beauty of Letting Go
I admit it. As the parent of a child with special needs, I tend to hover. It's often necessary, though. Someone has to help her figure out what foods are safe to eat, to administer her medications on time, and to give her the weekly infusions until she's old enough to handle these tasks herself. But as she gets older, I'm realizing that I've got to start letting go. This is difficult, since I've been with her since birth, at every specialist appointment, therapy session, and surgery. I've stayed overnight at the hospital, researched every procedure, and logged more miles on our old van than I care to count. But the letting go is critical if I want her to reach her full potential and live as independently as possible.
My resolve to work myself out of a job as a parent was recently tested when it came time for my daughter to go to church camp for the first time. She refused to go if I didn't attend too, so I made arrangements to be one of the female adult leaders on the trip. The children's minister assigned me as her "camp mom" so I could monitor her medications, food, and general physical and emotional state closely. At first, she said she wanted to be my roommate too, but as our departure date got closer, she changed her mind and said she wanted a "real" roommate. She was assigned to a room with two other girls, in a room that was more than halfway down the hall from mine.
I wanted to protest this change because it would make it inconvenient for me if she got scared or needed something in the middle of the night. Then I realized that my comfort and convenience were not the primary issue. She was expressing her desire to be independent, and I owed it to her to give her the opportunity to try. It wasn't easy, but it worked out better than I dared hope. I helped with medications and food selections, and she asked for help when she needed it. The other adult leaders and I were always nearby if she needed us, but I tried to stay in the background as much as possible so she could have the full camp experience without mom being at her elbow all the time.
There were some scary moments when some neurological issues we hadn't seen in a while reappeared, but we dealt with those as best we could, and the "normal camp experience" resumed.
Isaiah 41:10 became real to me in a whole new way this summer. God isn't just strengthening, helping, and holding me by the hand. He has my baby girl too, and I can count on Him to take good care of her. Part of the beauty of letting go is that I get to watch Him do just that.
Father, thank You for helping me to step back to let my child take steps toward independence. Thank You for loving her more than I do and for being right there with her to watch over and protect her when I'm not there. Thank You for allowing me to see Your work in her life and for the opportunity to see her faith grow as she learns to trust You for herself. Amen.