Sunday, April 30, 2017

THE JOY OF LETTING GO ~ Releasing Your Teen into Real Life in the Big World by Vickie Caruana a Review

Thank you Litfuse
for this review copy.
As a homeschool mom, the last year has been very hard for me. It's been a year of major transitions. After five years of being on call to help my husband with his work, I was ready to settle back into the routine of homeschooling my younger kids. The problem is, my kids aren't little anymore.

Emily, 19, graduated last year. She's living at home and going to the local community college. She also works a part-time job. She's a busy girl and is often gone. She's still working out the direction for her life.

Michael worked as an intern with the local police. The first day he was my 16 year old boy. The last day he was a 17 year old police officer in training. The job ended with the summer, but his entire focus is now on training for the force. He is not my little boy anymore. I didn't see it coming so quickly and completely. It blindsided me.

Amy, 15, is just growing up. She's ending her freshman year. She wants to work a summer job and do some job shadowing this summer. She's driven. She wants to be busy. They all do. They don't want to slow down for read alouds, for family games, or to do the things we did in the past. They're leaving me behind. I'm not really trying to delay it. I knew it would happen—just not so suddenly.

In The Joy of Letting Go, Vicki Caruana defined why I'm feeling lonely and sad these days.
"The prospect of an empty nest is supposed to be a good thing right? Yet many moms are doing anything they can to delay it. We're holding on to our children for dear life, as if their growing up is our death. It is an ending of sorts—an ending to the life we've led for eighteen or more years. We have been involved, engaged, and intertwined in their education, their well-being, their extracurricular activities, even their friendships. We orchestrated much of it, and now we find ourselves a leader without a band." From the Introduction of The Joy of Letting Go
Mrs. Caruana tries to explain how we can help our children to make the transition from dependence on us, their parents, to independence.

52 short devotional writings

From the Publisher:

Letting go is a good thing. Letting go without preparation or awareness is not. Your "baby" just passed his driving test. Your little girl is moving into a dorm. Your role as a parent is changing—but your heart toward your kids only grows. The truth is, letting go of your children doesn't just happen at the big milestones. It happens day by day, beginning the moment your child enters your family. With inspirational readings and quotes, this weekly devotional helps you equip your children for independence at whatever age they are now. You've already loosened your grip more than you realize! Discover new encouragement to continue to let go in life-giving ways.

My Thoughts:

The Joy of Letting Go is a good book, but it didn't make me feel joyful. I had hoped that it would help me deal with the loneliness involved in an emptying nest. It did make me realize that I've been doing a lot of things right along the way. After reading the description again, I realize that this book isn't really meant to help the parent as much as to give ideas to the parent on how to help the child. Mrs. Caruana is a teacher, so she writes from a public school family perspective, but she has also homeschooled. 

I do think that there is some comfort in knowing that the way I've been feeling is normal. It's a time of growth for all of us. Caruana focuses on ideas for helping teens take responsibility for their own lives. The book is really more about helping them to make the transition than helping the parent make the transition. 

Truthfully, although I don't think I wasted the time I spent reading, it didn't help me with the emotional side of this like I had hoped that it would. It wasn't really a devotional book that pointed me to Christ either, but a collection of the author's thoughts. I think that it is probably a book that is meant to cross over into the secular market. 

So, although it is well written, for me it was an okay book. For you, it might be a "This is just what I needed to read," book. That's the thing about books. Each person will read them a bit differently based on their experiences and beliefs. My belief is that I'm going to need to find my joy in Jesus as I continue to empower my kids to leave the nest. The Joy of Letting Go might be just what you need to find the courage to start letting go.

Be blessed,

Read what other bloggers thought.

Dr. Vicki Caruana is the author of 20 books and the blog Apples & Chalkdust-named after her bestselling book that has touched the lives of a million educators around the world. Caruana is one of four parenting experts on Starting Points, Focus on the Family's parenting DVD series. Formerly a public school teacher and a homeschooling mom, Vicki is now an assistant professor of education at Mount Saint Mary College in New York. She lives with her station wagon loving husband, Chip, in Newburgh, New York and has two grown sons in Colorado Springs.

Disclosure: I was sent a sample of this product for review purposes only. I was not compensated in any way. All opinions are my own based on my experience with this product. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


  1. Thank you for the a mom of a 20 yr old who needs direction...sigh...never probably understand what I'm saying...

    Have a beautiful day friend.

  2. Thank you for the review, sweet friend. You and I can so relate to each other in this department, and I think we both know where the true Source of our comfort lies...only HE can heal the hurt in our hearts, as we see our "babies" grow up and need us less...well, I wouldn't say they need us less...they just need us in a different way now. God bless you and comfort your dear heart.

  3. I did not homeschool. But I did do everything else, pretty much.
    I had a hard time letting go of my son. Mainly I think because he began to make a lot of choices I did not agree with. They were not all bad choices, but many were just so different than my expectations for him.
    We had a lot of ups and downs, but we did make it through them. I think there is sadness in letting kids go because we fear for them, their safety, their welfare, and many other things.
    Sometimes you feel unnecessary, and a bit unwanted too. I think that is pretty normal too.
    We had quite a few turbulent years, our personalities are very very much alike. He had an easier time of nest leaving with my husband than he did with me.
    These days we have a very good relationship, although we differ very much in our opinions. The grace of the Lord kept the doors open on both sides for that.
    I made all kinds of mistakes being a Mom, but I was a good one too, and I got a lot of things right with him also.
    Letting go is like a death in the family, sometimes the loneliness and grief can devastate you. But remember you have to die to rise. Even die to yourself, to resurrect in your new role of being a Mom to adult children. I am proud of the man he has become.

    1. What a beautifully encouraging testimony! Thank you so much for sharing it with me Annie. Your timing was perfect.
      God bless you my friend!

  4. Thank you for the review! I'm entering the first round of this as my oldest is graduating next year, just got his license, and previewed a college in St. Louis.

    1. Oh wow. Is St. Louis far from you?
      My eldest son was away from home at Job Corps for over a year. It was almost impossible to reach him. It tore my heart, because I couldn't talk to him. With all the ways of communicating today, I think distances are a little easier.
      Hugs to you!

  5. I'm about to experience this! My eldest takes the SAT on Saturday, we're moving back to the States, she's going to begin taking some college courses, and get a part time job. Ack! I'm starting to panic!

    1. Big hug Jennifer! To quote the Lion King movie, "It's the Circle of Life." ~smile~ As hard as this is, we are going to make it through. As I understand, the reward is grandchildren someday. ~smile~
      Be blessed Jennifer,

  6. I understand exactly what you mean Laura... for so many years all our efforts were concentrated on our children, and we were glad to take backstage because of their needs. I too am in this in-between period where you just feel kind of lost, like your purpose in life has disappeared, and you are unsure of the next step. Both our kids are in college, and only home for short periods of time now. All change is hard, but I have found that the Lord always ushers in something new and wonderful with the changes that come.

    A dear elderly woman in my life always told me this - when troubles in your life come, and there isn't much you can do to change them, find someone else in worse shape than yourself, and help them, and in return, it will help you. I have found her advice invaluable. Find an outlet where you can make a difference for someone else other than your children, and it will bring that peace and contentment that you desire, in a different way, and it will bring healing. I know this to be true! I will be praying for you, because as we both walk through this new phase in our lives, I pray that the Lord uses it to help us be a blessing to someone else in need. Love poured out never returns void! Hugs to you today dear friend!

    1. Thanks so much Marilyn. Your encouragement is truly a blessing to me. I think your friend's advice is a very important and timely key.
      God bless you friend!


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Your blog friend,
Laura Lane
Cancer Survivor