Two of my kids are now in school full time. When each has started kindergarten, I’ve been a hot mess. Like full-on ugly crying, swollen eyelids, making a scene kind of hot mess. And I probably will be just as bad (if not worse) when my last child starts in a couple years. Because that’s what motherhood is — doing our best to raise them up so they can fly, but inevitably feeling the sting when they leave our side.
And it’s this very sentiment, this painful tug on our heartstrings, that’s making an Instagram post by Alyce Kominetsky of AlyceOneWord so popular. Alongside a beautiful photo of her 6-year-old daughter, Alyce describes motherhood with the perfect analogy — that letting your kids go is like ripping off a bandaid.
What’s left behind is a piece of us that is forever changed.
Parenting with our heart is like ripping off a bandaid.
The pull of our emotions, the tugs on our heartstrings, our love exposed.
Raw and vulnerable.
It’s impossible to avoid ripping the band aid off. It can’t stay on forever.
And, much like raising our children…we have to let them go.
It’s not easy. It’s terrifying and painful to watch them venture off.
But, we hope that we have given the time, support and love so that the pain is brief and the reward is great.
We will heal and they will hopefully never venture too far.
Because, we are the ones who kissed their banged knees and scraped elbows. We are the ones who celebrate alongside every cherished moment. We are the ones who cry with them when hearts are broken. We are the ones who do our best to heal their aching wounds. We are the ones who encourage and teach.
We are their bandaid; always and forever. 💖
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“As our children grow, we watch them become more independent,” she writes. “We celebrate each and every milestone. We watch as the people we created become thriving and incredible human beings. But, with each milestone they reach … a little piece of us gets torn away. The initial fear of pulling away … the tugs on our flesh … the exposure of our skin. What’s left behind is a piece of us that is forever changed. Parenting with our heart is like ripping off a bandaid.”
I can’t think of a better way to describe motherhood. Alyce tells Babble that she was inspired to write this post because she’s been getting emotional thinking about her daughter starting 1st grade.
“She is starting grade one in the fall and I was looking at her one day thinking about the endless hours we spend raising them every hour of every day until they are school age,” Alyce shares. “Grade one seems so official … I no longer have a baby!! Then, suddenly, we have to let them go.”
It seems to happen just like that. Almost without warning, it’s time to rip off the Band-Aid. This is how I feel each time one of mine starts kindergarten. All of a sudden, they’re gone for so many hours each day. I have no control and influence and knowledge of their day-to-day and hour-by-hour activities, movements, emotions, and interactions with others. When my first son started kindergarten, I thought of so many unnecessary reasons to email his teacher, just to have a glimpse into his day and connect with him. I did better letting my second child go and bothered her teacher far less, but man, did I sob the night before she went.
Why is it so hard when they start to break away? “I suppose it was the realization that she is growing up and this is only the beginning of letting her fly into the world,” Alyce says, “knowing that there will be joys as well as heartache.”
That’s the truth of it, isn’t it? Bracing for the heartache. Worrying that someone will be mean to our kids is gut-wrenching — will they be able to handle it? Stand up for themselves? Remember how amazing they are when someone puts them down? And we lay awake at night, thinking about how we are going to have to rip off the Band-Aid. Even if we aren’t ready.
As Alyce says in her post, “It’s not easy. It’s terrifying and painful to watch them venture off. But, we hope that we have given the time, support and love so that the pain is brief and the reward is great.”
Her beautiful post comes full circle at the end. Because although we have to rip off that Band-Aid, we know they’ll be back home soon enough.
“We will heal and they will hopefully never venture too far,” she writes. “Because, we are the ones who kissed their banged knees and scraped elbows. We are the ones who celebrate alongside every cherished moment. We are the ones who cry with them when hearts are broken. We are the ones who do our best to heal their aching wounds. We are the ones who encourage and teach. We are their Band-Aid; always and forever.”
No YOU’RE crying. Okay, I need to go hug my babies (who aren’t babies anymore) super tight. Only a few weeks of summer left until I have a 3rd-grader, a 1st-grader, and a preschooler. Yikes. I’m not ready. But I’ll get there.