When your child is born, the umbilical cord is cut, signifying the physical separation of the child from the mother. It’s a letting go that begins even as your newborn infant is delivered into your arms.
You feed your baby and eventually teach her to let go of the breast or bottle. You release your toddler’s hands as he takes his first steps. You let go of the bike seat and run behind him as he learns to pedal alone. You hand her the car keys and watch her drive off.
Every stage – every success – is a bittersweet combination of pride and sadness as you watch them take step after step away from you. And the irony is that although you would protect them with your very life, the evidence that you’ve done your job well is that they can live without you.
I suppose, then, that it’s a really good thing that you get at least 18 years to master the art of letting go while standing in the background, cheering and waving.