Letting go

I’ve got a million things swirling around me and in me these days. Normal stuff like kids falling off bunk beds, and not understanding fractions, and having birthdays, and losing teeth, and and wadding up their laundry instead of folding it, and shooting me dark looks when I totally don’t deserve it. And sometimes when I do.

Then there’s the blasted book. I’m finishing up with recipe testing. I’m tearing through the last 4 chapters, getting ready to leap into edits. It’s gonna be great, better even than I first envisioned it. I’ve got an awesome editor who is going to make sure of it. (Oh, Lord, please don’t let the edits be too hard!)

My hubby and I are trying to look each other in the eyes every now and then, sometimes even over an onion tower at Chili’s. I’m trying to remember to pay that dratted house payment, and buy milk before we run out, and stick wood in the fire every now and then so we won’t have to take out another mortgage to pay the power bill.

Yeah. All that.

And it’s finally, finally, sinking in that my daughter is engaged.

Going to be married soon.

As in, a grownup, really truly.

She is going to come back from Taiwan on Saturday a different person. Part of a couple.

I think you all have caught the fact that I am thrilled for them. I have great confidence in both of them and I couldn’t be more thrilled with her choice in a guy. In fact– have I told you this?– for at least the past 3 years, maybe longer, I nurtured a tiny hope, secret til now, that this guy would fall for one of my girls. So that fact that he actually has…well, it is a God-thing, pure and simple. I’m.thrilled.for.them.


And yet, in the past few days, I have found myself struggling with melancholy. My girl and I are close. We talk about stuff. But now there is this new person, filling her thoughts. Hearing her secrets. Occupying the sweetest center of her heart. I know that this is right and good and how it should be. I rejoice for her. But this sad silly little bit within me is grieving. Because life won’t be quite the same ever again.

By God’s grace, it will be better. New adventures. Exciting happenings. “Plans to prosper you…to give you a hope for the future.” I have faith in that promise, so much so that I painted that verse on my bathroom wall a few years ago.

And yet it will be different. There is huge portion of her life that she will share with him and no one else. Joy and sorrows and little things and big ones. By God’s grace I’ll still be in there too. But my place is more in the periphery now. And the selfish little (big?) part of me grieves, even as the grownup in me rejoices.

Because change is hard sometimes. And it involves letting go in some places. And holding on tighter in others.

I think that is why this song has been on repeat a lot in my house lately.

Tell me now, when does this start feeling
Like I understand everything I’m dealing with
First I was young, now it’s all just happening…

This could be all about just letting go
Or this could be all about just holding on…

I can’t get my feet off of the ground
I want to run but I don’t know how
Can you reach down here and pull me out, can you pull me out, yeah
I want to scream but there’s no sound
I want to fly to you somehow
Can you reach me here and pull me out, can you pull me out…..


  1. I don’t think that’s silly! I think it’s totally normal to feel that way. My girls are 7, 4, and 2 right now, but I’m sure I’ll feel the way you do when I’m in your shoes.

  2. If I feel that way about sending my little girl to school next fall, I can only imagine your feelings about a little girl who is getting married. If it helps at all, my mom has become my best girl-friend since I married in 2000. We have a great relationship and enjoy this phase of our lives very much. Different, yes. But much, much better…

  3. ugh-as the mom of 3, soon to be 4!! weg got our referral on Monday!!, daughters, I understand this. I both anticipate with joy the day our girls will find “the one, and I dread it at the same time. I know we have what seems like a while, but I am sure it felt that way to you, too, and then all of the sudden, it’s here. I will pray for God to sustain you, and He knows what it is like to release a child He dearly loves into the care of another. (Only your situation has a much happier ending for you as the parent 🙂 ) Hang in there-and thanks for sharing. I shed some tears just thinking about when this day will come in our house….

  4. I tell people that Jesus will come back before I have to let any of my daughters go in marriage. It makes me cry even thinking about it. Your post made me cry. Watching “A Wedding Story” and thinking of it being one of my girls… forget.about.it.


  5. In the last month my oldest son moved out and at the end of this month my oldest daughter is moving out. I’m very happy for them, but I too have those same melancholy feelings. I miss having all my chicks here with me. These changes mean that I have to learn new ways of having a relationship with them; it means letting go of them; it means taking a back seat in their lives………It’s hard, but I guess it’s all a part of the journey of being Mom. Thank goodness I still have 7 children here to enjoy non stop every day!!

  6. You touched my heart -how wonderful to have someone love you so much they’ll miss being your best friend and secret sharer! Bless you – change just stinks sometimes – and it never stops. Sometimes those changes we think might stink – turn out the very very best part of our lives -God loves us enough to not let us know what tomorrow brings! don’t be concerned about selfish feelings – it is a good thing to not want to let go -but still do it lovingly!

  7. Of course, you will be close to her in a way that you have never been before. You relationship will become more friendly than parental and she will understand you in a way that she never has before.

    My husband used to wish he could freeze the children at different ages, I used remind him that every age has its new benefits. If we didn’t move on we’d never see the new miracles.

    I hope you truly enjoy this new stage of your relationship.

  8. Big (((hugs)))) for you, Mary!

  9. Reading this reminded me of my mom and I when I got married. She and I have always been close and after we got married, even though she was thrilled and my parents love my husband, she kept saying, “Don’t forget about me”. I think she was a little scared, too, of how our relationship would change. But, I have to say, it’s actually made us a lot closer. We now have even more in common and I truly consider my mom my best friend.

  10. I have been enjoying you blog for some time. Thank you for this post…I needed it this morning. Funny, I posted kind of a melancoly post also. The song is perfect!!!! Thanks again.

  11. This particular change seems pretty fast to me. And yet, there’s been so many quick changes in my own life over the past year, it’d be like the pot calling the kettle black … Well, hopefully we can all look forward to more and better relationships, instead of letting established ones slip away.

    I’ll have to keep doing my part, not letting people drift through inaction! Such an easy trap.


    And yeah, kids do give undeserved dirty looks. Some day they’ll look back, and feel sorry for every time they were disrespectful or rude to you. 🙂

  12. I imagine I will feel the exact same way in 20 years or so. I feel little stabs of grief over things like them finally going to sleep by themselves. Can’t imagine how it will feel when they go off and get married. 🙂


  13. Thanks for sharing this. I pray for my girls’ future spouses while at the same time there’s a part of me that doesn’t think they should marry anyone ’til they’re 40! Maybe by then I could handle it! I look at them at 4 & 2 and can’t fathom being capable of being joyful when he, whoever he is, steals them away! I keep telling myself that when it happens I’ll be at the point where it’s OK. Sounds like that’s not likely to happen. Drat! Blessings to you all in this very happy time!

  14. Well, I’ve been feeling sad, happy, intrigued, curious, and more about you lately. I think you’re the first one of my friends to have a child get married, so it’s hit me on more of a “peer” level, as in “what will it be like when I go through this”, or “I wonder how Mary is handling this new season”…

    I think it’s awesome how excited you are, for the sake of your daughter. And I think it’s normal to grieve and be sad over such a big change. And I think you’re handling it all with grace.

    And every time I think of you, I say a prayer for you.

  15. Aww….bittersweet.

  16. Awwww – your relationship with your daughter will remain awesome, I’m sure of it!

    I just got married a year and a half ago and my mom and I are still very close. I’m really looking forward to when my husband and I have kids in a year or so – I’m going to be a stay-at-home mom and plan on spending A LOT of time at my parents’ house with my mom during the day 🙂

    The first child was definitely hardest for my mom. She also told me that my brothers getting married was harder on her than when I got married. She knew we’d still be as close as ever, but my brothers were getting a new woman in their lives and she knew her relationships with them would change more.

    Just think, next up is grandkids 😉

  17. I am hanging on your every word, Mary. My time will be here sooner than I realize.

    Be blessed.

  18. I feel that way, too, sometimes, and I only have one little guy so far!!! 🙂

    I really enjoy your blog & I’m thankful you take time to write & encourage others with your struggles & your wisdom. I nominated you for a ‘fabulous’ bloggy award over at my place: http://ceaselesspraises.blogspot.com/2009/01/guess-what.html

  19. Aww, Mary, I do belive you and your daughter will always be close. I am very close to my mom as well. Right after I got married, it was a little tough, that whole “cleaving” thing and proving to my husband that he was my #1.
    There was a redefinition of our relationship but now I promise you that I am as close to her as ever. Husbands are the absolute best but there is nothing like a mom and especially a mom/friend.

  20. Thanks for sharing this. As bittersweet as it sounds, I pray to feel the same way some day!

    Many hugs,

  21. Mary,

    For what it’s worth, I feel ya….My oldest “bio” just turned 19…and when he visited a few weeks ago, it hit me that I never gave that boy permission to grow up….and I told him that….I can be proud of the man that he has become, but that still doesn’t mean that I can easily reconcile the man with my memory of him at 5 years of age. When I see him, that’s the version that I see…or at the most a boy of 14….but never a man.

    Silly boy went and grew up on me….I most certainly did not give my permission for that nonsense.

    So much for the misguided theory that a child stops being a child at 18.

  22. I can totally throw you for a loop with one word….

    Are you ready for it?

    Here it comes……


  23. Oh, I can’t read this post without having some moments of anxiety myself. The Girl, who is nowhere near dating age, will one day be in the same situation as your daughter, Lord willing. I think I shall have a bit of a mourning session as well because every mom knows that when true love happens, it takes the place of everything else, even Mom.

    I don’t even want to think about that yet.

    Though it’s hard on you now, you know that God is sufficient and He will get you through these feelings. Soon it will be hard for you to remember what it was like before your future son-in-law joined your family!

  24. As the mom of 2 married daughters, I know exactly what you are feeling. It is a huge change in the family and when my second daughter was married this past May, I felt in even more keenely. At the same time, I am excited at the prospect of becoming a grandmother for the first time this summer, so, we are embarking on a whole new episode of our lives. Not just about becoming a grandparent, but also about my daughter becoming a mother. I think you will find that after the wedding of your daughter, it will be a different relationship, but a very good one at the same time, and on a different level than it was before. God bless you as you go through some changes in the next few months.