When the World Racers were preparing for their trip they were repeatedly and frequently told not to have expectations. No expectations of what training camp would be like, or what ministry would entail. No thought about how traveling would look, or if the accommodations would be inside or out. Preconceived ideas can be a hindrance. Flexibility is key. The racers practiced living in the moment and going with the flow. Those exercises have already been used in the first two months of Hannah’s race.
What they didn’t say, or more likely, what I didn’t hear, was that parents need to release their expectations too. You know…the idea that when your racer leaves that you will be able to face time regularly or that they will share every detail of what is happening. The thoughts you have that there will be pictures posted every day, or that you will be able to see your racer in many videos. When Hannah was preparing to leave, we conversed about gear daily. We shopped, made plans, and talked things through. I was a part of this thing she was doing. When she left that daily connection changed. I won’t lie, it has been hard and I think I know why.
As a parent it is my job to have expectations. I expect my children to be kind. To have manners. To become good citizens. I expect for them to do their homework and brush their teeth. To treat others with respect. To pick up after themselves, and to do so with a thankful heart. In fact, a big part of parenting is actually setting the expectations for them until they learn to set their own. That is where the difficulty comes in. It is where they pull away and act as if we are suddenly against them and that our expectations are a noose designed to extinguish their lives. Can you tell I have four young adult children trying to spread their wings?
My point is that while letting go of expectations is hard for our 20 somethings…it is even harder for us. It is engrained within our protective natures to train our kids. Pretending not to care doesn’t work for me. I do care. I do want the best for my kids. I do want to be a part of their lives and to be included in their stories. I think the hardest thing for me at the moment is the feeling of abandonment at the fact that my children are leaving the nest. Yet, all is as it should be. In fact, I would be concerned if they weren’t!
What God is showing me through the World Race is that this is my issue is not theirs. They are doing exactly the thing they were created to do…finding their way. It is my idea of what that way should look like that can be a stumbling block to ME. It is MY expectations that I have crafted and nurtured for my children that are now a detriment. It seems to me that letting go of what I have felt my role has been is harder than letting go of my children. The two are intricately linked.
Once again, I must open my hand. I must relinquish my role as it has been and allow God to adapt it to a new one. I must watch from the sidelines….but then again, the sidelines are where the cheerleaders are, so a cheerleader I will be. 🙂