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Loren Ridinger Headshot

Learning to Let Your Children Go

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It's been a flurry of activity around our house for the last few months. My daughter, Amber, will likely be married by the time you read this post, and to be honest -- the wedding planning was a bittersweet ride. Of course we are so happy for her, we love Duane so much that it is easy to feel confident about her future. I love being a mom. And, the past years have been so incredible to watch my little baby grow into a gorgeous, independent woman. But as a mom, it's tough. Sometimes I just want to scoop my little baby back up and sing her to sleep. Helping her plan her wedding was a beautiful process -- of course I wanted it to be the day of her dreams. But it's milestones like this that make it even more difficult for me to let her go.

When you decide to have a baby, it's a huge decision. During the months of pregnancy and even throughout the first years of her life, I worried all the time. Am I a good mom? Is Amber a happy baby? Do other people think I am a good mom? Am I making the right decisions as a parent? The questions and uncertainties go on and on. Being a new mom, there's nothing else to compare the experience to -- it's completely unchartered territory. And it's terrifying and exhilarating all at once. All the while you're filled with overwhelming love. A love so strong and intense, sometimes you just have to laugh while other times you just have to cry.

Like most parents, we want nothing but the best for our children. The best education, we want them to be happy and confident, we don't want them to suffer over anything -- as seeing them in any pain is certainly more painful to us as parents. I still want to give my daughter everything I didn't have and more. I want her life to be filled with joy and success and I never want her to worry.

When she was just a baby, I remember thinking about the day she would find her prince and be married. I remember the moment perfectly, staring at her in her little bed and thinking how I just wanted her to stay little and need me forever. Throughout the years, I recall doing everything I could to keep her close, to protect her and for her to still need me as her mom. I am sure that was challenging for her because like most parents, we can be overwhelming (especially me) while trying to keep them little when all they want to do is spread their wings and fly. It's just as tough now as she heads out to have a family of her own. I am so happy for both of them, but at the same time, I have to admit, I have been a bit melancholy. I finally figured it out while recalling all the memories, looking at all her baby pictures and listening to wedding songs for her dance with her dad -- you never stop being a mom. Whether your child is five or fifty, they are always going to be your baby and their age just doesn't matter.

Watching your child grow into an independent individual is an incredible experience filled with highs and lows. Helping to guide and mold your child while teaching them to function in a world full of challenges is a big task with big ideals. And once their grown, it's even more of a challenge to step back and let your child make their own decisions. But it's okay to feel this way. The love for our children is unconditional. There is nothing else like it, sometimes it hurts but it is still the greatest love of all. I am always going to be her mom and she will always be my baby -- even in my perfect and not-so-perfect moments. Like a caterpillar, she has grown and turned into a beautiful butterfly. She is ready to spread her wings and fly.

It is her time to shine. Fly baby -- Fly.