Special Needs: Scared to Let Go

Illustration of a ittle bird flying off from broken Easter egg held by a parent's hands
Luke Flowers
It was time for Tyler's first Easter egg hunt, and I was excited. My 5-year-old with cerebral palsy had made great strides in maneuvering his walker and could now bend and pick things up.

 But as the race began, I was heartbroken to see children swarming the field as my son hobbled far behind, his basket swinging from his walker. Intent on rescuing Tyler, I rushed to his aid. But instead of tears, he greeted me with a bright smile and a basket full of eggs! The other children had run so fast that their eggs had spilled out of their baskets.

That's when I sensed God say, Hand your son over to Me, and his basket will always be filled with blessings. Trust Me with your son, and I will teach you both how to walk in faith.

I tended to be a helicopter mom, so handing my son over to anyone else wasn't easy to do. Tyler fell down numerous times a day, sometimes breaking a wrist, fingers or other body parts. I wanted to protect him — physically and emotionally — but I learned that wasn't always possible.

What I could do was encourage Tyler's independence a little bit every day, helping build his character and relationship with the Lord. The following reminders may help you do the same with your child:

Let others teach you to stop hovering

My sister-in-law, Kelly, pulled me out of my comfort zone. I never would have dared to take Tyler to some of the places she insisted on. Tyler's physical therapist persuaded me to take him to the Easter egg hunt that day, and my husband was determined to let Tyler try new things.

Give up some control

Let your child become as independent as possible. Letting go didn't mean I cared for Tyler any less; my heart still ached when other kids made fun of him. But at the end of the day, Tyler would tell me what he had learned. Allow your child to handle a situation or task on his own, yet reassure him that you're there to offer advice and help if needed.

Tyler, now 27, is a pediatrician and a strong man of faith. Bit by bit, God showed me how to walk in faith and hand my son over to Him. And bit by bit, I learned how to stop hovering and watch my son become the man God created him to be.

Lisa and Tyler Sexton are the authors of God Bless These Little Legs.

This article first appeared in the Summer 2014 issue of Thriving Family magazine. If you enjoyed this article, read more like it in Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. Get it delivered to your home by subscribing for a gift of any amount.

Copyright © 2014 by Lisa Sexton. Used by permission.

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