There’s a big transition going on in my life right now—actually there have been several this year. But this one is of the most basic nature. It is about independence. It is about growing and maturing. And about letting go.

It’s about peeing and pooping in the potty.

My child does this now.

For two and a half years I’ve been responsible to take care of this most fundamental—and frequent—occurrence, for my baby. He would lie there as I would change him and at first he looked up at me with that blank and open stare of a newborn, then with a growing love and mutual adoration, and eventually with a mischievous sparkle accompanied by flinging and kicking. Then the day he said “thanks Mom” while I performed the caring and, let’s face it, kinda gross, act.

And now the changing table is gone, the crib is converted to a bed, and his most oft repeated phrase is “I do it by myself!”

So this morning when my boy sat on his potty reading his book, singing, and eventually going number two for the first time in there I felt… happy, proud, and yeah—a little sad too.

The Celebration, and the Passing Away

Any time we enter a new stage in our lives there is celebration and there is also a passing away of what has gone before. For my son, I know he’s excited and feels very independent. But I can tell also there is resistance. If I wanted to keep him in diapers for the next year, he probably would have let me do that. There is a comfort in doing things the same way, and in being taken care of in the way that we have. And there is part of me that cherished those moments of focused care and attention, and misses the days of his babyhood. Thankfully, we both value independence and growth. So we are pushing through to this next stage together. And we will find other ways of having sweet nurturing moments.

Supporting the Change

All of this has made me think more about change and having the courage to usher in the next stage of our lives. This is my son’s first major transition towards adulthood. There will be many more. And I am still passing through new stages of development—professionally, emotionally, spiritually. What kind of support and pressure do I need to take those steps? How do I ask for that, and from whom? It is my responsibility to invite in the people and the influences that will make those changes possible.

Offering this to my little one has been a great reflection back to me of the kind of encouragement, accountability and celebration required to make significant growth happen. May will all provide that for ourselves, and for each other.

An exercise in supporting growth:

Think of someone that you provide care or mentorship for:

What is their next stage of development?

What kind of support could you offer them to help them take that step?

Is there any part of you holding on to the way they have been, or how your relationship has been, that might be keeping you from helping them take that next step?

Do your work to let go of that resistance and embrace a new potential.

Hold that person in your mind and heart, and in whatever actions are right—providing blessing and a place of accountability for them.

I am co-facilitating a Shadow Process Day on Saturday, September 26th. This could be a wonderful way for you to address any subconscious ways in which you are keeping yourself or others from taking the next step.

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