Frayed apron strings :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

Frayed apron strings

Maria Cunningham

I can still see my then three year old daughter, Ginny, standing at the front door with her face pressed to the glass.  She was waving good bye to me with tears running down her face.  I was leaving only for a few hours, yet she was quite distraught. Pangs of guilt consumed me as I pulled away.  The thought suddenly entered my mind … someday we will be swapping places.  I will be standing on that side of the door trying to hold back the tears as she drives away, leaving home for college, or a new home, a new job … a new life. 

Well, that time has come.  Two years ago, I stood at the door as my older son left home for the Naval Academy.  Now in a couple of months, I will assume that same place as Ginny leaves for her freshman year at Belmont Abbey College.

I’m getting better at controlling the quantity of tears, but the feelings are still there. I will always miss the days when we were all living together under the same roof. I find myself longing to keep them here with me, yet knowing they need to leave my nest, spread their wings and fly towards independence.

Don't misunderstand me. I want my children to pursue their dreams and live the life God intended for them.  I am the one who is learning the lesson now…learning what it means to have children let go of my apron strings and become the adults I am so very proud of. 

The apron strings are still there, they just continue to become more and more frayed.  My kids will be back for breaks, visits, and summer.  But each time they come back, I realize more and more that they are not mine, really. They truly are God’s children.   

It’s a tough lesson to learn.  What has helped you learn to loosen your apron strings?

Topics: Family , Motherhood , Personal Growth

Maria Cunningham lives in Fairfax, Virginia with her husband Chuck, and their ten children.   Maria provides a look into her life as a "mom-of-many" at her blog Home Sweet Heart.

View all articles by Maria Cunningham

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