Letting Go Of Your Children

This is a blog post that is straight from the heart. Its a subject that is very new to me, and one that is too so testing my skills on how to be a parent, on how to be a Mum without over stepping the boundaries.

I am trying so hard to stay focused on the outcome, and to follow my gut instinct but at the same time I want to wrap my boys up in my arms and never let them go. So when is the best time for Letting Go Of Your Children, and when is it the best time to keep them where we know its safe?

Letting Go Of Your Children

Letting Go Of Your ChildrenMy oldest is 17, and legally he is able to leave home and live on his own. But legally doesn’t cut it with me. As far as I am concerned he was inside of me for nine months, I birthed him for 24 hours and I had to fight to keep him alive for the first 12 months of his life.

He was born in June 17 years ago, yet it only feels like yesterday. I can remember holding him for the first time – straight after he was born, and I was crying so many tears of happiness that he was here and so perfect. He had five fingers on each hand, and five toes on each foot. He weighed a healthy 8 Ibs 15 oz, and he had the blackest hair I had ever seen. It was so thick and so dark. He was here, he was perfect and he was so loved.

When Is The Right Time To Let Them Fly?

On day five we were sent home from hospital. I was so over the moon – we were going to start our life as a family! I was putting clothes away when I felt something wasn’t right. I quickly turned around and realised that he wasn’t breathing.

He was so still, and he was so blue. I picked him up and I started to panic. I knew that this situation wasn’t right. I called for help from my family who I was living with, and the ambulance was called.

This was the beginning of a trip back and forwards many times, as the hospital could not pick up anything wrong. The last time was a trip into the children’s hospital, where it was confirmed that he had sleep Apnoea.

A machine was organised and we were sent home, after we were all shown how to preform CPR. Soon it was our routine, and we lived happily….each night the machine would sound an alarm and we would have to jump up and wake him up!

Fast Forward To Now!

So lately I have being trying hard to let him make his own decisions. After all he is 17, and is taller than me, and has grown in many ways. His long life dream is to be in the navy….one which I was happy to support, but I wanted to wait till he was 18.

He has never wanted to travel with us around Australia, and has shared those views a many time! This lead me to realise that he would be happier following his passion, and his dream of being in the navy.

He has done Army Cadets for years, and has worked his way up the ranks. He actually does really well with a controlled environment, and thrives on team work. The last few months have been very testing for me as a parent and a Mum – do I let him go from home and find his way with the Navy or do I ask him to wait?

Decision Time

When is the right age for Letting Go Of Your Children?

To be honest I am not sure if there is a right age….do my children let me know when its time to let them fly? Or do I trust what my heart is telling me, and ask them to wait?

I so wish there was a magic ball that let me see into the future and know that he is going to be OK! I actually had trouble with writing this, and for the first time in three years I did not want to blog yesterday!

You see he has spent the last two weeks at a friends house (various friends from school/old area where we lived). One of those friends (or maybe a few of them!) have had a few words to him, and have talked him out of joining the navy. Which is not the issue at hand. They have talked him into moving out of home, and moving in with their family. So that he can finish off his schooling, and work part time in the job that he used to work at.

What Will Happen Next?

Some of you may be wondering what all the fuss is about….its about what is right for him, and what I think he needs for development! Should I be Letting Go Of My Children and letting them make his own way in the world?

Or should I hope, and pray that its just a little bit of cold feet (joining the navy) and a bit of the “Holiday Cheer” getting to him? I know what my heart is saying, and I know what I want to do…..I want to shout from the roof tops – NO you are too young to be living out of home…..but how silly does that sound when he is wanting to go into the navy!!

Is it a matter of pride? Or is it a matter of wanting a better future for him….much better than I ever started with?

What are your thoughts about Letting Go Of Your Children? Last night my heart was torn in two! Today when he gets home, I am praying that Dave can talk to him at a local coffee place,  so that we can all decide on what is best!

Cheers

Lisa

New Life on the Road

*update* Linking up with With Some Grace for FYBF Happy Flogiversary


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50 thoughts on “Letting Go Of Your Children

  • July 12, 2011 at 9:37 am
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    Lisa, congratulations on writing about something so close to your heart and sharing it. From what I can see you have given him an awesome start in life and you have already equipped him with all the tools he needs to go out and find himself.
    Last night I was watching ‘To Kill A Mocking Bird’ with my 15 year old daughter as part of her English for home school. One of the statements that the dad said to his children, that really resonated with me, was “Children, there are many bad things in life and as much I want to protect you from all of them I will never be able to”. This really made me think about what I am doing to prevent my children from getting hurt.
    I believe that we need to let our children make their own mistakes. They have their own model of the world and it is NOT ours. We just have to believe that we have done all we can do and if something happens then we are there to help them get through it.
    I definitely would not be making him do anything that he really does not want to.
    Lisa you are a great mum and you have 4 other boys to think about also.
    A bird can spread it wings but it will always come back to it’s nest. Just make sure that the nest is always welcoming with love and support no matter what.
    Sorry for the long winded post.
    I hope it helps.
    Please share what happens. 🙂

    Reply
    • July 12, 2011 at 10:40 am
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      Hello Dee,

      thank you for your gorgeous words and the feeling that we are not alone! I know that I need to let him make his own mistakes, I just hope with all my heart that whatever the outcome from this…….is that he knows we are here! And that he does follow his true passion, and not what his friends want him to do! He is so close to following his dreams, I just want him to be true to himself 🙂

      Will find out more when he gets home today! Hope the situation is sorted so the best outcome is choosen 🙂 Will update more soon!

      Cheers
      Lisa

      Reply
  • July 12, 2011 at 10:45 am
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    Hi Lisa,
    I too know how hard it is Letting Go Of Your Children.
    When I wanted to come to Queensland my eldest didn’t want to come with us I trusted his decision but made it clear that he could come anytime he wanted if he changed his mind, He is still in Melbourne finished school then put himself through an accounting degree he has been very successful.
    I know you will make the right decision for your son, you and family.

    Reply
    • July 12, 2011 at 11:09 am
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      Hello Rita,

      Its so comforting to know we are not alone with this new situation. Its amazing to think that legally they are old enough to live by themselves, but emotinally are they ready!!! So good to hear your son is doing so well and putting himself through an accounting degree 😉

      Cheers
      Lisa

      Reply
  • July 12, 2011 at 9:47 am
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    Hi Lisa,

    Thank you so much for writing this post. I am trying to put myself in your situation and think about how I would feel with my own 17 yr old. I know you and David will do the right thing for your family as your boys are so well loved and I can tell after meeting them you are both wonderful parents. Its a tough decision and personally I know which way I would go but every family needs to work out whats right for them.

    Reply
    • July 12, 2011 at 10:48 am
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      Hi Jackie,

      Thanks for your kind words, and support! We are working through this as best we can – looking forward to having him home this afternoon, and see what the full story is! I hope that its just a thought from friends and not what he really wants to do! Hope its a little bit of “cold feet” and he soon is back following his dreams! My heart is torn in two….do I let him go and see what happens, or do I put my foot down and lose him anyway!!! Gosh I wish there was a magic ball to let me know what is the best decision 🙂

      Cheers
      Lisa

      Reply
  • July 12, 2011 at 10:11 am
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    Hi Lisa,
    What an awesome post. One that many of us may have struggled with in the past, and it is good to read a post like this so that people know that they are not alone if they are going through similar situations or feelings.
    I congratulate you on sharing your personal feelings in such a way that others will relate to and find comfort from.
    Thank you 🙂

    Reply
    • July 12, 2011 at 10:43 am
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      Hi Bronwyn,

      Thank you so much for your kind words! So wished that I did not have to be in this situation! I know with my heart that he is a good kid, but he is easily lead by others…which is my worry! I want to see him following his dreams and passion, and not look back in life and say “What If….” I know that he needs to make his own decisions in life, and I know that I need to let him grow, but gee cant I hold onto for a little bit longer 🙂

      Cheers
      Lisa

      Reply
  • July 12, 2011 at 10:27 am
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    Hi Lisa,
    What can I say, tears filled my eyes as I read your blog post. I understand how difficult it can be to let go. My son is 27yrs old now, but he first moved out of home at the age of 16, this broke my heart, but I knew I had to let him go for him to mature and find out that life can be hard at times and he would need to learn this from his own experiences. We as mums find it hard as we want to love and protect them, but they will not grow and mature if we do not allow them to experience life lessons.
    I send to you big hugs, love and a shoulder if you ever need someone to talk with.
    You are truly one special lady and MUM. Your boys are such treasures and I am thrilled to have met you, David and your 5 wonderful boys. xox
    I found this poem that may be of some comfort when the day comes for you to let go…

    As You Grew
    By Catherine & Byron Pulsifer

    As you grew, no matter what happened we looked at the sunny side of life.
    As you leave, take with you the wisdom to focus on the “good” in life!

    As you grew, we helped you avoid unnecessary worry.
    As you leave, remember that 90% of what you worry about never happens.

    As you grew, we encouraged you to be open and direct.
    As you leave, never lose your honesty with those whom you speak.

    As you grew, we helped you find solutions.
    As you leave, always remember there is a solution to every problem.

    As you grew, we encouraged individual thought and action.
    As you leave, continue to be independent and persevere when faced with life’s challenges.

    As you grew, we reinforced the value of family & friends.
    As you leave, always make time for family and friends.

    As you grew, we shared many happy times.
    As you leave, always take time to laugh every day.

    As you grew, we taught you values, right from wrong.
    As you leave, always stay true to your own values, don’t be influenced by others.

    As you grew, we taught you to set goals and take action.
    As you leave, may all your dreams turn into goals.

    As you grew, we emphasized money is not happiness.
    As you leave, always cherish the simple things in life!

    As you grew, we encouraged you to live each day,
    As you leave, take with you the thought that each day you are given is a “present”!

    Reply
    • July 12, 2011 at 6:41 pm
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      This is beautiful Narelle, thanks for sharing and its so appropriate for us mums who have kids ready to leave the nest.

      Reply
  • July 12, 2011 at 10:41 am
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    Hi Lisa,

    It is always hard to let your children go, the first one is the hardest. Sometimes the best thing you can do is to let him go with the knowledge that he is always welcome back home. Sometimes you don’t realise what you have until you try something else, if he did move in with a friend’s family it might not be as good as he thinks. Have you talked to his friend’s parents? Or is this just something the boys have talked about? You could try sitting down with him and writing a list all the pros and cons of staying with you and moving out.

    Whatever you decide it has to be a decision you are comfortable with. Congratulations on a great post.

    I hope I have been some help.

    Sue

    Reply
    • July 12, 2011 at 2:24 pm
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      Hello Sue,

      We did speak with the friends parents, and they were under a different impression about his education, and we were under a different impression about their offer for him to stay there! They want him to finish year 11 and year 12 but David explained that he had the opportunity to finish his education at the local high school (he would have to catch the school bus to get there) but he refused to go. We then got the books he needed, but he wouldnt complete them.
      He has wanted the navy for so long – he actually was asking last year to join but I heard off from signing the paper work until he was 17! Now that I agree – he doesnt want to go? I am hoping it was a case of Holiday Cheer, and the combination of his mates influence! Hope he follows his dreams, and is happy with what ever decision he makes…..I know that I need to let go, just wished it was easier then this!

      Cheers
      Lisa

      Reply
  • July 12, 2011 at 11:42 am
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    Hi Lisa,
    I do know how you feel. My son falls under the umbrella of autism spectrum and is 24 years old. All my hopes and dreams were for him to have a life apart from me. He moved to Colorado when he was 20 and it didn’t work out for him. But, he had the safety net of mom and dad. I encourage you to allow him to persue his dream. You and dad are always there for him. All the best to you.

    Reply
    • July 12, 2011 at 2:18 pm
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      Hello Happygirl,

      Thanks for letting me know about your son, and your family decisions. We are waiting to see what happens next!

      Cheers
      Lisa

      Reply
  • July 12, 2011 at 12:10 pm
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    hey lisa, as a mum, i too know what you are going through! its very hard to let go!sometimes its probably better to allow them to spread thier wings…they always know that at anytime they can come home and its not like you wont be able to talk to him pretty much every day.and it doesnt matter where you are in Australia,you can always get to him pretty quickly if you need to or vice versa! maybe you should allow him to do this while you are still close so you can see how he handles it before you go anywhere and iron out any problems straight away! it might give you some peace of mind! i have had 2 leave home now and the first was definately the hardest! hope this helps! good luck! P.S i cant imagine a trip around Australia would be as much fun with a teenager who doesnt want to be there!! cheers cheryl

    Reply
    • July 12, 2011 at 2:17 pm
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      Hello Cheryl,

      I know that it would be good for him to stand on his own two feet, but my heart says another thing! Its not just about moving out of home, its about his dream – a dream that he has had since he was in grade 8…..to join the Navy. I finally agreeded to let him join before he is 18, and sign the paper work so he is able to join….and now he decides he wants to move out of home and in with a mates family? Maybe I should have waited to he was 18, and that way he did not need my permission!! Funny how I agree and he decides its not the best thing after all…..maybe I need to do reverse physiology!!!

      Cheers
      Lisa

      Reply
  • July 12, 2011 at 12:18 pm
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    Dear Lisa,
    You are tearing at all our heartstrings with the decision about your son. As one other respondent said the best you can do is to let them know they are ALWAYS loved and there is ALWAYS a sanctuary for them.

    The great poet Kahlil Gibran in his book The Prophet spoke about children. I cannot recall the exact words, but one standout part was :-
    We, the parents are a bow and the children are arrows. Our task is to set the arrow onto a good straight path and our job is done.

    Let yours and David’s instincts be your mentor.
    With Love
    Harry

    Reply
    • July 12, 2011 at 2:13 pm
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      Hello Harry,

      Gosh I am sorry that I have upset you Harry. I was not sure if I should post this blog after I wrote it last night, but this morning I felt like I needed to share what is happening. I need to know that I am not alone, and that we as a family are going to be ok!!!

      I like the saying about the bow and arrow….so very true! Fingers crossed the arrow is straight and the path he chooses is a good one 😉

      Cheers
      Lisa

      Reply
  • July 12, 2011 at 5:09 pm
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    HI Lisa
    I left home at 17 3/4 to go to the big smoke 500km from home and attend uni.
    Never asked mum how she felt about that – might do that tomorrow. My eldest did uni locally and so stayed at home until married(20) . My youngest is still here (23) – on the mines 2 weeks home 1 etc. I am just as involved with their lives as ever – maybe more since I am now semi-employed granddad.

    Things have changed these days – living away from home is very expensive and we don’t mind sharing half our house with the youngin! Are boys different? For others to say since I don’t have a son. I just know my own experience.

    I went feral for a year or 2 since I went from working at home(on a farm) 4-5 hours a day and doing school (6-7hrs with travel) for most of my life until leaving home.
    At Uni, I lived 5minutes walk from the lecture theatre and usually rolled out of bed 20 minutes before to get breakfast and then walk over the road!
    Plenty of time for mischief and mayhem!

    After 3 years of growing up I settled down and was married before graduating – 30 year anniversary this year.

    You know your son better than anyone and you have to make some decisions based on that knowledge.

    Good luck!

    Woody

    Reply
    • July 11, 2012 at 8:48 pm
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      Hi John,

      I think boys are different! They sure do get into mischief and have a lot of fun 🙂

      But you are so right – sometimes they just have to grow up! Its been awhile since I wrote this blog post (and have only just now seen your comment). A lot has changed since I wrote this – and he is now settled happily in the navy.

      Things do work out for the best in the long run.
      Cheers
      Lisa

      Reply
  • July 12, 2011 at 8:35 pm
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    Hi Lisa,

    I understand your fears and worries but I think you could put them to one side. I’m sure that you have raised a wonderful son who will be a credit to you wherever he goes.

    He’s wanting to move forward and start living his life on his terms. He wants to follow his dreams.

    Just make sure that he knows you love him no matter what and that he has a safe place to come home to if it doesn’t work out the way he wants. 🙂

    I vote for letting him go. I think that you could trust that you’ve done enough to teach him how to be a good man. He will be better for this experience.

    It will be alright. 🙂

    Reply
    • July 13, 2011 at 11:15 am
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      Hello Jazz,

      My heart says one thing – and my head says another! I so wish I knew that I could make the right decision, and everyone will be happy at the end of the day!

      Cheers
      Lisa

      Reply
  • July 12, 2011 at 9:40 pm
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    Oh my goodness Lisa, my heart goes out to you! Letting go of your children is something that all parents must face at some time, and can you ever really prepare someone for what it is going to be like?
    I left home when I was just 17, and thought myself incredibly grown up, heading to the big smoke of London, from a small town in Wales. Then 2 years later, I headed to the other side of the world. I have to say that it wasn’t until I had my own children, that I realised how hard this must have been for my mother. I have to say though, that I was incredibly lucky to have a mother that supported me in all that I did.
    Your boys are so very fortunate to have you as their mother. Whatever decision you make will be perfect ♥

    Reply
    • July 13, 2011 at 11:18 am
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      Hello Hilary,

      How come they dont come with instruction manuals? When they are born, and handed into our arms it all seems so easy! They are so beautiful, and only need us parents. Then they grow and they find friends and their own life. There should be a manual that has mulitple choices to every event…kinda like if you do this a,b,c,or d is the outcome. If you take this course then e,f,g or h will be the outcome!!!

      My heart is torn in two…do I let him go and pray that he will be ok? Or do I ask him to wait?

      Cheers
      Lisa

      Reply
  • July 12, 2011 at 10:50 pm
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    Hi Lisa

    We think when our children are young, that it will get easier when they get older, but it doesn’t. I don’t think there are any right or wrong answers to your questions. The only thing you can do is ride it through. Let him know that you will always be there for him and let him know how much you love him and are going to miss him as well as his father and brothers.

    Reply
    • July 13, 2011 at 11:32 am
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      Hello Kerry,

      Thanks for your great words of wisdom! It sure is a different stage we are going through, and yes they are easier when they are younger!

      Cheers
      Lisa

      Reply
  • July 12, 2011 at 10:53 pm
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    Letting Go Of Your Children must be difficult, although I’ve never had to do this yet (I don’t have kids). It’s probably not helped by the fact that the children don’t see the big deal in it. When I moved out, and all the people I know moved out it was an exciting time, the first journey of independence. If your children can make it out there on their own rest assured you’ve given them the skills they need. And that’s being a good parent.

    Reply
    • July 13, 2011 at 11:34 am
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      Hello David,

      It is different from the childrens point of view! I moved out when I was 19 and never thought about what my mum must have being going through! All I want is a magic ball to show me that he will be ok!! It is easier when they are at home and safe, but they need to grow their own wings 😉

      Cheers
      Lisa

      Reply
  • July 12, 2011 at 11:55 pm
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    Hi Lisa,

    What a touching piece of writing, it really moved me. Sometimes writing out your thoughts and feelings can start the healing process and it can give us the perspective we need to help us move forward and grow personally. I hope you find the peace in your heart and comfort with in your family.
    Thank you again for sharing such a personal experience.

    Reply
    • July 13, 2011 at 11:43 am
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      Hello Sue-Ellen,

      It was good writing about it, scary at the same time! I wrote it late at night, and then did not publish it to the next day because it was so personal and very much from the heart!

      Thanks for your kind words
      Cheers
      Lisa

      Reply
  • July 13, 2011 at 10:46 am
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    Hi Lisa

    Hugs to you and your family:)

    I am reminded of a great quote that goes something like…..”our children are on loan to us!” We parents do not get a rule manual or guidelines..nor do children……so you have to do what is best with the information you are given.

    Your “heart speak” is a perfect place to ask for and to listen to for advice and guidance, however you have to now ask what is the actual question? and who is it for?

    My family mean the world to me also and my baby was the first to leave home to go to uni, my daughter at that as well. When they leave the nest, it is so easy to tell what, who and why to do stuff, however in reality once they have left they make their own decisions. The great thing about a close family life is that we love them, coach them and teach them to be independent and to have choice/ideas/and a say about not just their lives but of the world around them as well. So it is not so hard to understand that they feel they are invincible and want to experience their lives.

    Let them and yourselves choose with love for both of your sakes and dreams. My Dad and Mum always reminded us that the decision we make to day is not set in stone and can always be revised and remodeled without regret. Especially when the door is left open or closed gently, it can always be opened again easily:)

    The main thing is to be comfortable with however he may choose to live with and to ensure he keeps contact with you, keep your lines of communication open and friendly and ensure he knows exactly how you feel about his decision to leave/stay.

    Again hugs to you all 🙂

    Reply
    • July 13, 2011 at 11:44 am
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      Hello Marney,

      Thanks you for your kind words and your great wisdom! It sure is a different experience that we are going through. One that will get easier when I know that he is going to be ok 🙂

      Cheers
      Lisa

      Reply
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  • July 14, 2011 at 4:41 pm
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    Gosh LIsa! I was almost crying when you mentioned that he would be ‘flying solo’ lol And I can totally resonate with you and the baby not breathing thing, as my 1st bubba had trouble breathing 🙁 I love hearing this journey of both yours, as I’m at least 10 years for experience this myself – it’s like you’re acting in my future if you know what i mean. THank you so much for sharing, this was very insightful and inspiring in many ways

    Reply
    • July 15, 2011 at 1:41 pm
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      Hello Tara,

      I so wrote from the heart, and I didnt go back and delete any of the post so I was wondering how it was going to be sharing so much personal information! But it worked out really well – because it was so good sharing what was happening within our family!

      So good to hear that other families can understand what we are going through, and can give us great feedback 🙂 Thanks for your gorgeous words, and for sharing your baby story.

      Cheers
      Lisa

      Reply
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    • January 1, 2012 at 10:31 pm
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      Hi Jan,

      It was so good to read this one! I love re-reading it and seeing how much has changed for our family since I wrote that blog post and I loved how much great hints/tips/advice other parents offered our family at the time!

      Cheers
      Lisa

      Reply
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  • May 10, 2013 at 8:59 pm
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    I can’t imagine how you are feeling. I have two year old twins so I am a while off being in your shoes. I do know that it sounds like you are a wonderful mum, and that you will know what feels right at the time.
    How scarey that must have been for you during his first year. But you got through that, and you will get through this too.

    Reply
    • May 10, 2013 at 11:20 pm
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      This post was written a little one ago….but I was re-reading it today before linking up “With Some Grace”. It sure brings back a lot of memories. Now our older son is in the Navy and he is really enjoying his career. It was the best move for him, almost like he was born to be in there.

      Thanking you for your very kind words xxx

      Reply
    • June 20, 2013 at 11:43 am
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      It gets easier with our other children now that we KNOW what to expect 🙂
      Its harder with the first, and harder to let go of the youngest {or so I have been told!!!}

      Reply
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