I think all parents a gift. They always know when their children are ready to fly. I'm not talking about using an airplane. I'm talking about their wings. See, parents don't know this but every child has a set of wings. They can't see them and neither can you, but I promise you they exist. Children have wings.
Children, more often than not, like to think they know when they’re ready to fly. That isn’t always true, if you heard the story of Icarus at one point or another. Sometimes, kids think they’re ready to fly a lot earlier than they’re really meant to do Other children go their whole lives, growing up into teens and sometimes even adults, without ever realizing they can fly.
Parents? Parents always know when it’s time, even if they don’t see their kids’ wings. They know when their kids are ready to fly. Some parents see it on that last day of high school, when their kids are wearing caps and gowns; they’ve moved their tassels and are ready to go into the world as people. They’re ready to fly and parents have to believe they’re ready.
Other times, it’s that first moment when their little one suits up in football pads and a helmet. They go out onto that field and play their little heart out. Sometimes, they run so fast and so far across that field, trying their very best, that you nearly see them fly.
The hardest time for a parent to realize their kid is ready to fly (at least, I assume from what I’ve been told) is the first day of pre-school. You’re dreading the moment they have to let go of your hand and go off into the world for what very well may be the first time they’ve ever done it by themselves; they aren’t scared, because they don’t even know the meaning of the word fear. They’re ready and, for a moment when they let go of your hand to wave goodbye, you see it. You see their beautiful little wings and you know they’re going to be okay. You know, no matter what happens, they’re ready to fly.
There’s nothing wrong with that. It means you’ve done your job as a parent when your child is ready to face the world without you standing right beside them. Some parents aren’t ready when that time comes and clip their kid’s wings for just a little while, because they get scared when that time comes too soon.
My parents always told me I was the one they didn’t have to worry about. I’d always been ready to face a new challenge. They say I’ve always been independent, wanting to try things on my own, and it was how they knew they’d done a good job. I was ready to walk and they encouraged me to run. When I was ready to fly, they encouraged me to soar.
I was lucky. My parents saw that I was ready and never tried to stop me. Not every parent is like that. Not every child has the luxury of a parent who encourages them to go when they’re ready. Not every child is lucky to have parents that let them go when they’re ready, but make sure they always know they have a place to come home when the world tries to knock them out of the air.
After I lost my dad, I lost faith in myself. I didn’t think I could fly on my own anymore, but my mom never doubted it. She always knew I was ready and never once tried to stop me; she pushed me to keep going because she knew I was her strong girl and I could do it. My parents saw, long before I did, that it was okay to let go and let me fly on my own – though I know they were never too far away if got into trouble.
Because they let me fly, I am outspoken. I am creative, and passionate, and loyal, and intelligent. I graduated high school despite facing a challenge no child should ever face. I overcame every challenge that was put in my path. I graduated college with honors and am moving into adulthood, ready to see what life brings me next.
I couldn’t be where I am today if my parents hadn’t let me soar when they saw I was ready to fly.
Thank you, Mom and Dad. Everything I do, it's because you gave me strength to do it.
21 years young. Should be writing.