May 19, 2014

Letting Go

Yesterday it hit me. My Flynn is growing up. And not just growing up...growing away. From me. This is always one of the most difficult parts of childhood for me. And it is purely selfish, I admit. I struggle through it with each and every child God blesses us with. It sneaks up on me, even though I know in my heart the day is coming. The day...the moment... when she wants and needs to break away from me. From the safety and comfort and contentment of being with me. Just me. Mommy.

You see, from the moment she was born I loved her. I loved holding her and staring at her and knowing she was ours. I cuddled her and played with her and took comfort in the fact that she and I were a team. Mother and baby. She needed nothing more than my love and attention. We played blocks on the floor and read countless books and snuggled under the fluffy brown blanket with her milk and my coffee and watched Little Bear every afternoon.

When the big kids went outside on warm spring days, she stayed with me and watched from the window, giggling and waving at her brother and sisters. When Daddy took the big kids to the movies, she stayed home with me. I gave her  bubble baths and dressed her in warm jammies and rocked her to sleep in the quiet of the evening.

When the long days of summer arrived, and Daddy took the older kids to the pool late at night, she and I stayed behind and sat on the porch swing and looked at the stars. When we went to the park and Daddy and the big kids went on the scary roller coasters, she sat in her pink stroller while I pushed her around looking at all the people.

And she was happy. But days pass quickly. And children get older. Suddenly, that little baby that I carried so lovingly into the house wrapped in a baby blanket is now a preschooler with long brown curly hair and a smile that lights up our lives. She loves to dance and sing and is very fond of the color pink. But that is not all that is different. My baby is a child now. I no longer have three kids and a baby. I have four children.

Yes, the moment arrived...ever so quietly. It snuck up on me, even though this is the fourth time it has happened and I should have been expecting it. My little girl wants and needs to break away. She no longer stays inside with me on warm spring days. She puts on her shoes and runs outside with the other kids. She rides her big wheel around the driveway as fast as they do. When she comes in, she tells me all about it. And she is happy.

When Daddy takes the kids to the movies now, my Flynn goes along. She gets water and popcorn and sits in her seat and swings her legs, because of course they are too short to reach the ground. When she comes home, she tells me all about it. And she is happy.

This summer, when the nights are warm and long, she and I will go to the pool with Daddy and the big kids. She will sit on my lap while I put on her floaties and then she will jump right in. When we go to the park, she will walk along beside me, holding my hand, and then run off with Daddy and the big kids to hop on all the rides. And she will be happy.

I will be happy too. I will be happy for her. Because even though I will miss that little baby and the precious, happy moments we shared together, I cannot keep her from what she is supposed to do. She is supposed to grow and change and learn and play. She is supposed to become the child and young person and woman that God made her to be. I am here to guide her and love her and teach her. And ultimately, let her go.

This is the first of many times I need to let her go. Today, when she goes, it is just outside. Someday, she will go away to college. Or to a job. And one day, to a home of her own. All of my sweet children will. That is perhaps the hardest part of parenting for me. Letting my babies go. Realizing that one day, the child that my husband I dreamed of and waited for and loved and nurtured will leave and begin anew. Just as we did. And just as a child should.

I hope and pray when that day comes, I am ready. Ready to let each of my babies go. For now, I will take comfort in the time we spend together, and in the memories I tuck deep inside my heart. For someday, that will be all I have. That...and a whole lot of grandchildren, I hope. : )

My favorite picture of Steve and Flynn...the day we brought her home.
First trip to the beach. : )
Her love of Cinderella goes way back.
Me and my girl.


  1. got me crying again. How precious..I have been so angry these past few days, I haven't realized this. How true this applies to every parent. Bless you sweet friend. (I needed to read this)

  2. It makes my heart ache, but be happy at the same time. I have been right where you are, and know exactly how you are feeling. Bless you my friend.

  3. It is hard to see our children grow and leave us I am watching my oldest granddaughter grow up and that is really hard!! At least I have sweet Elliott who will turn six months old in June!! Gotta love on him while I can!

  4. Billie Jo, what a sweet post. The time goes by all too quickly. I am treasuring every moment with my grandson as I know it won't be long before he will be in school, playing ball, and then going to college.

  5. So precious. I had a wonderful Dr and wife that I worked for for 10 years while my children were growing up. I was going through the same thing when my baby girl was about that age. She reminded me how the baby girl is pushed out of the nest by it's mother. I know that's true but it's hard and even harder when they really are ready to fly their wings. She gave me a recording my Dr. James Dobson called, "Releasing Your Grown Children." Her children were leaving the nest at the time and she knew I would need it for later. I know you will enjoy this new journey as well. I loved every season of my children's lives and even now. Prayers for you at this season in your life.

  6. This is the sweetest post and hits too close to home for me as well :( It's so hard to let them grow up and away from us. Your little Flynn is adorable and I bet she'll surprise you now and then when she decides she might just want to be at home with just you now and then!

  7. Billy Jo, what a heart touching post of your deep love for that precious little girl. Reading this brought back many of my own memories with my two daughters. Stephanie is the youngest and we were and still are so very close. I can feel your mother pain.
    There are so many chapters in our lives, and I believe God has it that way so we keep busy in each chapter, therefore we will not remain sad for too long. We have to move on to the next, and there is great joy in every chapter! Enjoy them to the fullest. :-)
    Bless your dear heart.
    Joy! Debbie

  8. Oh Billie Jo, my heart is melting and the tears are flowing! Your sweet Flynn reminds my of my precious little boy who is growing up way too quickly, becoming more independent.

    It's certainly never easy, but it's also a joy and blessing to be able to watch them grown and mature. Thank you for this lovely post, my friend. Enjoy your week!

  9. This brought tears to my eyes. Beautiful.

  10. Oh my you have me sitting here with tear running down my face. I have been pretty emotional this past week thinking how quickly time goes by. Next Thursday Nicolas graduates from elementary school and Isabella graduates from middle school on Friday.
    I find I have had a harder time letting Juliana go because she is my "baby"

  11. Beautiful post! It's so hard to watch them grow and go, isn't it?

  12. She is so sweet; I love that very first picture! My Baby Girl isn't even here yet and I already dread the day that she grows away from me a little bit. My oldest is already there, and I'm doing my best to hold on to the little one as long as I can. No matter how much we plan and prepare, it's still always too early.
    She is a precious little girl and it sounds like you have prepared her well!!

  13. I love this beautiful post so much because it is the essence of who you are. You are so devoted to your sweet family. What an amazing gift for your children to have a mother who cherishes every single moment with them. I'm so grateful for your example, and for all that you do to brighten the world around you. All of your babies are so lucky to have you. <3

  14. I was just thinking about this very subject last night with Hope. I know she's only 16 weeks, but look how fast that flew by. She is our last baby and I find myself saddened by that fact that I won't hear the sweet baby breathing as I feed her. The silly coo's as she discovers her voice. The sweet smell of baby soap after our showers. Those tiny little features I stare at daily. But most of all, her sweet size and our cuddle time. I'm so afraid I will forget all of these things as she grows, just as I have with my other children. (It's sad how we can't remember all the little things) I find the reality saddening and I cry more with this little angel. Maybe that's a memory I can hold on to.

  15. Oh Billie Jo, this was so beautiful and heartfelt. I feel the same way about my "baby." Our kids are really just here on loan, right? It is so hard to get through chapters like this one.
    And yes, hopefully grandchildren will be another special chapter. Love all of those pictures.

  16. Oh man, I think that's why we all blog. It's a bit of holding on. We dig our heals in and try, oh we do try to keep em little. Every little step away from us hurts. I feel what you do and 'get' exactly what you're saying. Why does it have to hurt so? But it does. All the little phases and stages... little pangs at our heart. Abigail has been needing me less in the morning. Getting dressed by herself. And I hate it! I loved this honest post Billie Jo. We'll just have to help each other through I think. Bit by bit... little by little. I'm sorry, truly sorry that she won't be 'staying' with your for baths and jammies at night or under a cozy blanket in the afternoon. "just one more" I ask for all the time. If only I could do 'baby days' again... (deep breath) I don't want it to be so but somehow His timing, His plan was for me to have these two. But if only I could have them as babies one more time. Thanks for your honesty Billie Jo... you were the best baby mommy ever. Man, I wish I knew you ten years ago! xoxoxo

  17. She is such a pretty little thin! It is the hardest when the youngest grows up. Time for another least that is what I wish I could have.

    :) Hope

    1. Oops...I, of course, meant pretty little thing - I have a difficult time typing on a lap top.

  18. So true!
    We were just talking about not being in a rush to push Miss C into her big girl bed. It's all set up, but she prefers her crib. And that's okay. With the older kids, we were always pushing for the next stage.
    Hang onto each sweet and tender moment ;)

  19. Beautiful. Tears in my eyes, because I know exactly what you mean!

  20. such a sweet post. My 4 yr old also has been needing to grow a bit too. She has always stayed with me instead of swimming with the big kids...this year, I know it will be different.

  21. Such a beautiful post, my dear friend! Just wanted to let you know that Lilies for Laura has moved and is now Camp Love Nest { }.

  22. Flynn is so sweet! Her photo with her hat- oh my goodness, too precious. Even thought I'm not a mom, I really enjoyed reading this because it makes me realize more just how special the feeling a mother has for her children and babies is as they grow. This was so beautiful.

    Hope you are having a wonderful Thursday :)

  23. Oh Billie Jo.....I haven't gotten around to this post all week, but I'm so glad I finally did. My motherly heart ached as I read this knowing too well that feeling. Knowing too well that with each passing summer, school year, birthday, I suddenly see my kids in a new light. They are slowly going away and I have to let them go. Some days this feels like forever with the little girls and then I look at the gone-too-fast years with my big kids and know that they all slip away.
    Beautiful, motherly post and reminder to step back today to be at peace and enjoy. These days will pass before I even blink.

    Happy Weekend to you!


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Billie Jo