Forever Young: Letting Go Is Always Tough

Shari Lau

I remember the night I told my dad I didn’t need to be tucked into bed anymore. I knew it would hurt him, but I also knew I needed to take that step forward in growing up. I can still see the pain in his eyes as he walked out of the room, and I could tell he was crying. He probably didn’t know, but I cried, too.

See, to my dad, I will always be a little girl. It doesn’t matter that I graduated high school and college, got married and now have a child of my own. I will always be the little girl who needed to be tucked in.

That night has been on my mind a lot lately as my son’s first birthday approaches. I can’t imagine Noah not being a baby, but I know one day he will tell me that he’s too big for tuck-ins, and he’ll ask me not to hug or kiss him in front of his friends. And on that day, I will fully understand what my dad felt that night more than 30 years ago.

I will know that I’m raising a strong and independent boy who feels safe and secure enough to grow up, but I will also know that my baby isn’t a baby anymore. There will be proud tears as he heads off to bed as a big kid. And there will be reflective tears as I remember all the nights I rocked him to sleep.

Being a mom has helped me to see life from the other side, and I appreciate my parents more than ever. I hope this perspective helps me to understand my son as he grows. It won’t be easy to let go when the time comes, but I will step back and do what I can to help him grow into the best person he can be. Until then, I will rock my baby to sleep and enjoy the moments that will soon become memories.

To those who are parents and children, hug and kiss your kids for as long as they let you, and let your parents hug and kiss you for as long as they want to. For in the eyes of parents, children are forever young.