Chapter 9: Letting Go
“You don’t have to be a priest to pray all the time. Just about
anybody paying attention is going to end up praying just about
all the time. Because so much is out of your control.” Father
to son in Lizzie’s War
“Love in action is a harsh and dreadful thing compared with
love in dreams.” Fyodor Dostoyevsky in The Brothers Karamazov
Though most parents assent to the belief that the goal
of parenting is to raise children who ultimately become
independent adults, the actual and sometimes brutal emotional
realities required from the parental side of this equation can be
formidable. Letting go begins in the earliest days, just after we
are bestowed the title of mom or dad. The opportunities ramp
up as our children reach adolescence, adulthood, and beyond.
I, as a mom, can put up a fight against this necessary surrender,
or I can work to make peace with a process that often feels so
very unnatural. This choice is ever before me.
Raising children has offered me the sometime
unwelcome invitation to let go. In the early days, each of my
kids was utterly dependent upon me for their every need. I was
encouraged to form healthy attachment and in a sense, become
one with them. But just around the corner, the separation
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