“You can do this.” It’s become a mantra in our relationship.
First, it was sweet encouragement my husband and I whispered to one another during our tenure in graduate school. Eventually, we walked across the stage – just minutes apart.
Next, it was yelled by my husband over intense labor pains. Truthfully, I thought our children might be stuck forever. Eventually, two little people entered the world.
And, just this weekend, I found myself mentally replaying the words.
For the first time, we trusted a non-grandparent caregiver to put both children to bed.
Somewhere in the midst of our increasingly demanding academic careers, our kids have grown in their autonomy.
They no longer cry at our departure. They wave good-bye.
They no longer require our presence in play. They entertain one another.
But just as I started to savor conversation at the party, I felt the dreaded vibration: a text. I stole away to the bathroom. My heart could resist no longer.
“I wanted to let you know they are in bed. All is good in the household.”
[insert smiling emoji here]
I think there is a deep fear we all possess that, no matter the investment we’ve made, our children won’t thrive without us.
But they can.
But they will.
And, if you’re very lucky, that same person who gives you the strength to hold on will give you the peace to let go.
One Year Ago: Time: The Missing Ingredient