In one of my favorite Coldplay songs, Chris Martin sings: “and the hardest part, is letting go, not taking part, it’s the hardest part.” Oh, Chris Martin. You get me, you really get me. Did you plan for those lyrics to perfectly describe what it’s like to parent a tween? Because that’s exactly right, and I couldn't have said it better myself.
My daughter is in fifth grade. This year feels like a brave new world to me. Shifting friend groups. Changing classes. Choosing where to sit at lunch. Trying out different clothes.
Together, we’re moving into uncharted waters. For my daughter, she is navigating new social issues and experimenting with having a *tiny* bit of freedom. For me, it is a process of letting go. And like Chris Martin says, the hardest part, is letting go, not taking part.
When she is figuring out where to sit at lunch, I can’t help her. When a friend is not so nice to her, I can’t interject myself. It is so hard. I realize that all of these things are a normal part of growing up, but I did not expect it to be so hard as a parent.
After one particularly hard day recently, I called my Mom in tears and I asked her, “how did you do this? How did you watch us try and fail and figure things out on our own? I never expected it to be so hard.” She didn’t have any easy answers, because, well, there aren’t any. But maybe that’s what I needed to hear: there are no easy answers, and it’s a process of learning as we go.
So where does that leave me? It leaves me knowing that the best thing I can do is to love my daughter fiercely, and to make sure she knows I’m always here for her. I can continue to teach her to be strong, trust herself, and to use her voice. She is a gentle soul, and I just hope the world will be gentle with her tender heart. And maybe, I also hope that they’ll be tender with mine, because it beats for her and her sisters, always. And as we navigate this Brave New World together, you’ll find me humming along to Chris Martin, because he couldn’t be more right—”the hardest part is letting go, not taking part, that’s the hardest part.”