Letting Go When Our Children Fly The Nest

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Letting Go When Our Children Fly The Nest

Perhaps one of the hardest parts of being a father is letting go. The liberating of those that we’ve created, raised, cared for and built our worlds around is never going to be easy.

I’m sitting on the edge of my “empty nest”. It seems the time has arrived where I now have to let my daughters go and allow them the freedom to make their own choices and grant them their independence.

So many years of fatherhood, then, one day, they’re gone! Time flies by. You have to live every moment as though it is the only one. Enjoy your children all along the way. No father wants to see his offspring hurt and therefore we try to guide them into safer harbours. Yet we know our children are the master of  their own destinies. Both my girls have grown up with common sense and a responsible value system, and it is almost time for me to let them go. All children grow up, we fathers have to accept that.

My youngest daughter Carly goes away for a month next week. I’ve never been apart from her that long before. Not even when I was frequently away on business, travelling the county was I separated from her that long.

We have just shared a magic moment, having returned from a couple of days away together. Yesterday we enjoyed the day at Alton Towers, an amusement park. From our arrival we had just a lovely day. We went on plenty of rides including the Rapids and The Flume where we got wet through, but it certainly didn’t dampen our day. It was for me an adventure to remember for ever. It was strange not having her Sister, Laura-Jayne with us. But she has only just started her new job and so couldn’t get away. We had the pleasure of Carly’s best friend Nicky. It was a relief to me having her there because she was very pliable to Carly’s request to join her on the rides I wouldn’t go on.  It was just a great day, and I’m sure Carly will have a fantastic month when she’s away.

No parent wants to let their child go. It’s human nature to want to hang on tightly to your offspring where you can protect them and keep them safe.

A daughter is a gift of love. Author Unknown

I can no longer cling to the perceived safety of seeing them as children, afraid to let them go letting them climb the ladder of life, and not let my fear of them falling off it effect my actions towards them.

Laura-Jayne in September will be returning to university to complete her third and final year of Forensic Science and Criminology. Just writing that makes me so proud. She is a hard working girl, as well as being a social animal. I certainly don’t spend the time with her that I would like, and just hope she knows how proud of her I am.

I know that in order for both my girls to reach for the next rung, indeed to climb that ladder to greater achievements I have to relinquish my grip on them, granting them the opportunity to soar higher than I had ever imagined.

I have played my part in their development and my responsibility now is to empower them by giving them a little push and watch them grow.  I can no longer protect them by seeking to keep the umbilical cord intact by keeping them dependent on me for direction, I simply must give them the freedom to cut loose to grow and fulfil their potential.

All parents want what is best for their child. We need to let them live their own lives. Once a child is an adult, they have the right to make their own decisions, to do the things that make them happy. We the parents have to let them cut the cord.

Of course they will make mistakes sometimes, but it is valuable learning that they have to experience first hand for themselves in order to fully understand how they need to improve.

They will face a mix of challenges, joys and disappointments. Of course, a part of me will always be there to catch them if they fall and can’t find their way back up. Nothing can compensate for the thrill that comes from leaping off the edge of that cliff with bravery and resolve and powerfully forging a new life for ourselves! I thought of these words as I was diving down the huge drop on the flume ride that the photo with this article shows.

The possibilities are endless for both my girls. They can achieve anything they set out to. All they need to do is launch themselves into a  journey of discovery and endless success.

It is time to release my children, and dare to let go of their hand to allow them to fly free to choose their own destinies. It not only takes courage, but it takes trust in the processes of life to give wings to their future and our own. I will be there biggest fan for ever more.

So now it’s time for me to simply allow my children to grow up, spread their wings, and fly away. In Carlys case she is flying away next week. So soon. Through this process of saying goodbye to my children as children, will create an empty space within my life, but I know they will fill it with more joy from the pride of seeing their achievements.

I will take pleasure in watching them both grow up and look forward to the occasional cuddle, kiss and your words telling me that they love me. I will never want to stop telling them ‘I love you’, and ‘that you are my life, my reason for living, that your smile lights up my world. I feel for both of you exactly the same as I did on those two happiest days of my life, when the midwife put you into my arms that first time’.

A father is always making his baby into a little woman. And when she is a woman he turns her back again.  Enid Bagnold

I will always be here for them. I will be watching them as they grow and will be there to laugh, cry and cheer them on.

As a father, all I have ever wanted for them both is to be happy. I have made many mistakes but know I still honour the privilege granted to me of being their Father. I love them so much like only a father can love his daughters

I hope they will be able to find the courage and the strength to go anywhere, do anything and to accomplish greatness. I am already so proud of them, always and no matter what, and they are both very special.

No one can see the future or know what it holds.  Life will be what you make of it. Think for yourself, follow your heart, and make a beautiful life…the kind of life you deserve.

Now I can sit back with such pride watching my daughters grow and develop into beautiful women.

Are you a parent who can’t let go or a child who can’t escape the control of your parents? So what do you think? Please tell us your thoughts in the comments section, we’d love to hear from you!

A daughter is the happy memories of the past, the joyful moments of the present, and the hope and promise of the future.  Author Unknown

Here is a song I dedicate to them

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About the author: Larry Lewis
My name is Larry Lewis, Health & Wellness Life Coach, Founder of Healthy Lifestyles Living, contributor to the Huffington Post, recently featured in the Sunday Mail Newspaper and somebody who went from being an owner of a chain of gyms and fitness fanatic, to a visually impaired overweight and incredibly sick person. Read about my illness to wellness story.
15 Comments
  1. Karin June 29, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    So true. I have just been away on a special trip with my two. This has made me feel so much better about my two going away. Twins so they will both go away together.

    • LarryLewis June 29, 2011 at 10:29 pm

      To have shared that specil trip will for a long time provide you with joy and happy memories. Just make sure you enjoy every 2nd of their time in the future.

  2. MARIE CALVIN June 29, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    Great title, my sentiments on that. I’d like to invite you to join our community and share your work. We are here to help each other share our talents worldwide. Together we can reach more and by doing this we open the door to our success.

    Thanks, Marie http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bloggers-Unite/227139297315313

    • LarryLewis June 29, 2011 at 10:27 pm

      Marie – thank you. I will take a look.

  3. baldychaz June 29, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    Hi mate a lovely post, my two are only ten and eleven so have a way to go yet 😉 Never had a great relationship with my parents so did not matter to either myself or them when i finally escaped!

    • LarryLewis June 29, 2011 at 10:27 pm

      Baldychaz – enjoy every precious moment, it goes by so quickly

  4. Su Lewis June 29, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    As their aunt and surrogate mother I am also finding it excrutiatingly hard to let go. Although LJ will still be around here and easily accessible (when she’s not too busy!) having Carly so far away is something I find hard to even think about but, I can’t imagine how much harder it must be for you. xx

  5. Dangerous Linda June 29, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    This post made me misty.

    When “Finding Nemo” came out at the movie theaters, my younger son, the baby, was in highschool and made me go to the movie with him. He said, “It will be good for you, Mom.”

    I started sobbing uncontrollably during the movie. It was one of the most embarrassing moments of my life — haha! Surrounded by really little kids in a Disney movie. I could not stop crying. Big, heaving sobs.

    Still working my way through, I see, by the emotional impact of this interaction with you ;-x

  6. Roy Durham June 30, 2011 at 12:12 am

    the nest never really gets empty. about the time you get use to it there comes the grandkids and the theme park rides start all over. have fun and god bless

    • LarryLewis July 6, 2011 at 6:14 pm

      Thank you Roy that definetely brought a smile to my face. Just hope it’s not to soon.

  7. Bongo June 30, 2011 at 6:22 am

    Ahhhhhhhhh I hate this empty nest thing… my daughter 21 has flown the coup.. I still hate it.. I still cry some nights when I am missing her and remembering my baby girl.. I still wanna put that bubble around her and protect her with everything in me………good post my friend.you’re such a good dad……As always…XOXOXO

    • LarryLewis July 6, 2011 at 6:20 pm

      Bongo – missing my daughters so bad already. It is amazing how while they are growing up you are with them all the time, and sometimes you were relieved when you go a short term break, but now they are my inspiration and motivation, and just want to spend as much time with them as i can.

  8. Linda/Positive Spin June 30, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    It’s not easy is it, letting go. I remember how I cried when my son went to uni for the first term. I was upset for a long while and still really miss his company. He’d been a rock to me in times of trouble.
    I still miss my daughter too although she lives nearer. But we have to learn how to accept these changes and see them as progress.
    I like this saying, ‘Don’t cry becuase it’s over, smile because it happened.’

    • LarryLewis July 6, 2011 at 6:25 pm

      Linda – you are right. I can’t let my selfish needs stand in the way of my girls progress. I will watch with pride as they blossom in the paths they take, watching with pride their development.

  9. bhavna July 2, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    to be honest, i just read between the lines….but yea could see your feelings when you think about your lil girl leaving the house….and what it would be like for you to have an empty nest….if you have time do visit my blog too http://autom-atic.blogspot.com/

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