The Art of Letting Go

Last October 31, my teenage son went on a school trip to China. He was to stay there with classmates and teachers for 6 weeks. This is the first time he’s traveling without us. Hubby and I made sure he brought enough warm clothes since it gets freezing cold in China this time of the year. We also got him a supply of medication for just about every ailment — cough, cold, diarrhea, fever, etc. Before his flight, we made sure his cellphone had WeChat since it’s the most reliable and stable free chat application in China.

china_experience1Our son chose to go to Beijing, which also has a sidetrip to Shanghai. They had a really excellent itinerary. They would see all the sights like Great Wall of China (he took the photo above), Forbidden City, Tianamen Square, Summer Palace, etc. In Shanghai, they’d get to tour the Oishi Factory, The Bund, and Shanghai Disneyland among many others.

ChinaEverything was good. He was all smiles in the photos that were sent to us. Our son kept constant communication. Plus he was prudent enough not to spend all his pocket money early on in the trip. My hubby and I figured this was a good and safe way for him to learn how to be independent. He now knows how to do his own laundry. We felt happy that we had taught him well.

Three days before his flight back to Manila, I got a WeChat message. Our son said he has to get surgery for a boil. I’m like, when you get back to Manila? And he goes no, now here in China. My first reaction was WTFFFF. Literally. That was what I said in WeChat. He assured me it’s nothing serious and sent me some documents in Chinese which I read with Google Translate. It was an outpatient procedure which involved draining the boil. He has never had a boil his entire life living here in the Philippines. I got in touch with his pediatrician and told her what happened since he was flying home in 3 days. She referred us to a pediatric surgeon who would check the wound when my son got home.

Anyway our son sounded so confident and chill we didn’t worry so much. Afterwards he told us the procedure was done without anesthesia. Wow. This boy dreads injections and everything related to hospitals and there he was, done with outpatient surgery with no anesthesia. He assured us he was fine. He tried walking around the next day but the wound opened up and he had to go back to the hospital. After that he was advised to just stay put in the dorm.

We picked him up from school last Tuesday night. We went straight to the hospital to have his wound checked, dressed, and cleaned. The pediatric surgeon told us it was okay. It would close and heal by itself in 2 weeks.

A close friend of mine told me I had been exceptionally calm through it all. She said that if the surgery had happened to her son she would’ve flown there right away. I don’t know. I view this all as the ultimate test to see if everything we have taught him had registered through the years. So far we’re pretty happy and satisfied with what we’ve seen.

I guess what I want to say is despite the title of this post, there is no art to letting go. You have to trust that how you’ve brought up your child will guide him when he is on his own. Trust in your decision over a decade ago to send him to this school. I’ve been pretty hands on with both kids from day one so I can say that I know them well. I know that he would never do anything that would jeopardize himself and others. In short, I trust my child.

Letting go is all about trust. It’s easier if it’s built on a solid foundation.

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  • Reply B December 15, 2017 at 10:16 am

    I really love your parenting style. It’s so fresh, considering a lot of my students have helicopter parents. This just rocks!

    • Reply Rowena Wendy Lei December 15, 2017 at 6:40 pm

      Thanks! What is a helicopter parent though?

      • Reply B December 15, 2017 at 9:17 pm

        Parents who run to their child’s rescue whenever the child complains about something. Kaya uso ngayon na inaaway ng parents ang teacher pag bumabagsak ang mga anak nila. My parents never treated me that way, so I’m surprised a lot of parents these day do.

  • Reply Jeosen December 15, 2017 at 10:47 am

    Sadista… hahaha But seriously, great article.

  • Reply Geejay Nepomuceno December 16, 2017 at 10:30 am

    wow hats off to your son and to you as well. in 12yrs time kaya ko kaya mag let go sa baby boy ko hihi

  • Reply Svetlanna December 17, 2017 at 12:19 am

    I don’t think I’ll react calmly like you and your Hubby did it this happens to my son when he’s a teenager. Haha. Jusko baka mauna pa ako ma-rush sa E.R. bago anak ko. I guess, it’ll come nalang talaga. Is your son okay now?

    • Reply animetric December 18, 2017 at 8:34 pm

      Yes he’s better now, the doctor said his wound will fully close and heal in 2 weeks. 🙂

  • Reply Rhania E January 29, 2018 at 4:33 pm

    nakakakaba naman po talaga kapag ganun. as a parent andun palagi yung pagaalala natin i learned from this post, lucky you ms ro, you have a brave son =)

  • Reply Madz | Mommy N' More March 1, 2018 at 9:56 am

    I can just imagine experiencing this when my daughter becomes a teen ( and she’s just two). I think it’s really hard to let go because as parents we want to protect our children but like it or not,one day, they’d have to discover life and its struggles. One day, they won’t need us as much as when they were young. I am both terrified and hopeful that like you we’d be raising our daughter well. I was supposed to comment last December but just found time today.

  • Reply Appreciating the year that was 2017 - Animetric's World January 1, 2019 at 4:43 pm

    […] from home on his own for several weeks. It was quite a rollercoaster ride with my son informing me he needed to undergo outpatient surgery while in […]

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