“Successful Launch!” – Letting Go

photo credit: alex de carvalho

photo credit: alex de carvalho

When I went back to work after the birth of my oldest son, I made my husband drop my bouncing baby boy off at daycare. Even though we were fortunate enough to find a nurturing in-home day care provider, I couldn’t bring myself to hand my little guy over and then drive away. It became a tradition that my husband would call me afterwards, beginning the conversation with “Successful Launch!” as we would exchange cute stories about our bundle of joy, last minute reminders, or minor logistical operations.

Even though my boys are now in upper elementary school, the tradition continues. Most days, my husband still handles drop off/morning routine, while I usually have afternoon pick-up. These days, we exchange information about mundane permission slips, or the status of lunch money accounts. Yet, there is something comforting about knowing your offspring are safely where they are supposed to be. And although I used to just groan aloud if I missed a drop off report from my husband about my 3-month old’s first time rolling over, now, usually a voicemail or a text is more common than a conversation.

Depending on where you are in the timeline of child rearing, in addition to celebrating “firsts”, you begin to commemorate the “lasts”. Last nap (actually, I think the word here is commiserate, rather than commemorate), last day of Kindergarten, last day of elementary school, last day of middle school, and so on…

And whether you are dropping your babies off at daycare, school, or college, our goal is the same. To know that our children are safe and that we have prepared them. And then let them go…

I wonder if celebrating those firsts and commemorating the lasts is one way we make it easier on ourselves to let go? I guess I will find out. I am not there yet. Are you?


Fiona Bessey-Bushnell

Fiona Bessey-Bushnell is an occupational therapist and writer. A former archaeologist, she now enjoys digging up great stories right here in Richmond. She has an unusual affinity for Venn diagrams and post-it notes. Fiona lives with her husband and two young sons.

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