Your Children Are Not Yours to Keep
For most women—especially this woman—letting go isn’t easy to do, we don’t fully grasp the concept. We are plastic wrap, double-sided sticky tape, bubble gum on the bottom of a rubber-soled-shoe, skin-on-skin—we invest for the long haul, and our cling is stronger than super glue on steroids. We do not go gently.
I attempted to make a list of all times I let go without having a gun at my head forcing me to let go. It went like this…
- Doodle doodle
- Doodle doodle doodle
I started at my first inhale, and traveled all the days of my life trying to remember a single moment in my life that I let go of my own accord. Honestly, as Buddha is my witness, I couldn’t think of one moment. I don't let go, which explains my current turmoil. For the first time in my adult life, I don't have a choice.
The firstborn is coming up on a major milestone in her short life. Her graduation from high school looms, after, its college, and then life in the big world, a place where I no longer have a major role. To add insult to injury she is leaving the state to pursue higher education. How could she? I haven't confessed to her yet that I'm not coping with this shift in my world, which is odd for me because I live for chaos, upside down days, and life in a flux. It's where my right brain self is most at home.
What will I do on Saturday afternoons? Who will sneak out of the house with me to have lunch at Nordstrom Café, or sit in the bookstore reading and sipping lattes? Who will spend the afternoon eating buttered popcorn at the matinee showing of some ridiculously silly chick flick like she does?
This past Saturday signaled a shift in our shared world. Instead of having lunch and catching up on the week over lunch, we spent the day running from one beauty appointment to another, nails, hair, and a makeover, in preparation for her senior prom. The event, a reminder that she is less than four weeks away from the end of the final chapter of the first volume of her life.
It's a good thing I tell myself, a diehard change junky. Yes, yes, yes, I tell myself this is a good thing, but then why am I schizo about it? Could it be because her change signifies a change in my life as well, one where my role as protector, guidance counselor, nursemaid, prison guard, tutor, bank teller, personal chef and shopper, skinned knee band-aid applier, tear dryer, is also ending. I AM NOT READY. In my heart, I howl to the gods, Tinker Bell and Mary Poppins, too. Where was this in the fine print? Where did it say I had to let go?
This is a mother's curse, give them life, love them more than your breath, hold them tightly through all their storms and struggles, and finally, when the moment comes, step aside and watch them sore.
Motherhood is not an exact science and as each day that has passed in her seventeen years, I’ve prayed to all the magical beings up there on Mt. Sinai to help me help her along on her journey. I know that I can’t spare her from heartbreak or make everything ‘just so’ but I can hope that she took notice of all the clues that I left for her along the way, and that she knows no matter how far or high she flies, I will always be available for lunch and consultations.
When your time comes, will you be ready?