Thursday, September 17, 2015

Of Vines and Motherhood

I've heard that vines, though lovely to look at, are known for squeezing the life out of things.
Things like marsh grass.
Or entire trees!
I've read that they can wrap themselves so tightly around the trunk of a tree
that they choke out all of it's growth potential.
        Vines that climb and cling often cover over the cracks and weaknesses underneath them.
        They will, if left unchecked, grow thick enough to weigh down their host
or limit the light that reaches it's branches.

As I've watched
{via social media}
another school year begin,
these vines have wrapped themselves around some thoughts I'm having about motherhood.
Whether you're sending a child off to their first day of pre-school,
or their first day of college,
the emotions that come with
"letting go"
are often very difficult for a mama to navigate.
Since my kids are both over 25
{and "over" the whole school thing}
I don't have the cyclical reminder that time is passing,
that they are growing up,
and that part of my job is to figure out just how much to let go.

Truth is,
I don't think I was ever a very clingy or tightly wound mom.
But I've still had to do quite a bit of letting go.
And still get smacked in the face with waves of emotion
when I find myself longing to wade back in to the center of their worlds.
The vines help though.
Because I don't want to EVER be that mom
that smothers.
I don't EVER want to cling on so hard that I stunt their growth
or weigh them down
or steal their light.
None of us want that.

But, oh my...
the letting go can be oh so unnatural sometimes!
The twenty-somethings hit road blocks too sometimes.
Young adult struggles are real and, often, laden with real-life consequences.
So that overly-protective,
cover their cracks,
hold on extra tight
motherhood gene springs into action.
It's dawned on me recently that
I was holding on tight
to a young man who needs breathing room.
maybe not in a way that most people would notice.
But my mama heart's been in squeeze mode.
Time to take a deep breath
for the one-millionth time,
let this kid keep on going.
And keep on growing.

Joining Kim for
and Mama Kat for her


  1. This is so poignant and beautiful!

  2. We will never stop being mothers, will we? Love the metaphor of the choking vine. A good motivator for letting go.

  3. Ooooooh more of the loving and letting go!! You write so beautifully, I hope "the boy" is ok. Those growing pains never seem to end, although now in their 30's, my boys seem to be growing less and needing more hugs!! They are all grown up and our love and relationship has taken on a whole new feel, and I must say I love it. My week with Mike was awesome, we had the best talks and the very best hugs. The warm, holding on ones. The ones where you can tell they really mean it!!

    We are in the car, heading north and it is a most beautiful day!!

  4. On being a mom, it's for life that's for sure, and even though they spread their wings and begin again in new ways, they are forever locked within our hearts evermore, there's never no letting go of that, and for that we are blessed.

  5. Oh boy, this is the kind of post that touches my heart deeply and reminds me how to better navigate being a mom. I hope I'm not too clingy, though I tend to be over sentimental with a high tendency to worry, which I suppose borders closely to clingy? Every year's rentrée feels like another goodbye, which admittedly is still hard. I'm slowly, slowly working on my letting go... (sigh)... the vine metaphor is something I have to remember. Thank you - xo

  6. This is really thoughtful. I can so related with that protective squeeze at times. I'm probably a very strangly weed at times. I'm learning to step back some as well. It's so hard when you know you have the wisdom and experience to impart, but that the real lessons get passed through skinned-knees.

  7. And just when you get used to having grown kids doing their own things, they have children, and your heart once again is tied to little people. We just welcomed our third grandchild this summer...the need to love and protect them starts all over again. And it's a good thing. My prayers have just needed to expand...

  8. Yes, encouraging kids to run along to school can definitely be easier said than done sometimes.