Love is an emotion that is one of the hardest to define. Is it a feeling? Is it a decision? Is it blind? Is it madness? Are there different types of love? Loving someone is never logical. We always try to make sense of what it means to love and be loved, but everyone seems to have a different opinion of what true love is.
This morning, my daughter and I exchanged a series of “I love yous” and “I love you mores,” and I couldn’t help but forget about any problem I’ve been facing in my life. As we stared at each other and expressed our deep seeded love for one another, nothing else mattered. I wanted to hold on to that moment forever. I wanted to hold on to HER forever.
When you love someone so intensely, sometimes it clouds your logic or your judgment, and you want to keep that love and that person as if they are yours to actually possess. Sometimes I think to myself, “I want to keep her all to myself because there is nothing better in the world than the love of a child. She is mine. All mine.” But that’s not the case. Even though she is technically my daughter and it is my job to protect her and guide her and love her, she is NOT all mine.
It would be selfish of me to want to possess her all to myself. It would be selfish of me to not want to share her with the world. She will one day grow up and be on her own. What if she fails? What if she makes a huge mistake? So many “what ifs?!” I just want to protect her forever! The thought of her going off to college one day and into the real world already gives me anxiety! Mamas of teenagers, how do you cope?! How do you not lock them up and keep them … forever?
Even though we’re not quite there yet (thank God, I’m so not ready), I could probably guess the answer would be somewhere along the lines of the famous quote, “If you love them, let them go.” I know thinking back to when I was a teenager, I just wanted to be free to grow into my own, to live the life God intended me to live. Some parents have a hard time letting go because you feel like a part of you will be missing. You will feel empty, lost, and unsure. You will not know what to do with yourself because for a huge part of your life you have selflessly given everything to your child.
But if you REALLY love them, they must be set free.
Easier said than done, right? It’s never easy letting someone go that you love so dearly. But the good news is, they always come back. They’ll set out into the world being free and independent and then real life will kick in. Times will get hard. They will begin to think about the happy memories and the immense amount of love that was shared. They will think about how much you gave to help them become successful in life. They will be overwhelmed with emotion when they realize how much you actually mean to them. And they will come back.
So until then, live YOUR life. Do the thing you’ve always wanted to do, check something off your bucket list, do whatever fulfills you to fill that empty space that you feel. Let them go. Let them be free. Let them live their own lives. And when they come back, you can experience the genuine and true love that you shared before. They will thank you for it. They will appreciate and respect you for it. It will be natural and unforced and a newfound love will begin to resurface while you exchange a series of “I love yous” and “I love you mores” as all of your problems suddenly begin to fade away again. You’ll be so happy you did.