24 June 2007

Letting Go

James, by Mark Tonra.

CountryMouse wrote today on the trials of letting go, as a mother.

I just spent the week at the beach with friends whose 14 month daughter is now boldly walking. Two weeks ago she'd only gingerly step while holding onto a room's perimeter furniture, looking at the big people constantly to validate that a step was safe. No dragons be there.

In a blink of an eye, she shows so fear. She climbs the dishwasher like it's a rock daring her for the challenge. She negotiates steps down with focused determination. She squats to empty shells from a bucket draped on her arm like the latest Prada must-have bag, collects them back into the bucket, and steps ahead to repeat the fun again.

Her mom remarked that she wasn't sure how she was going to adjust to letting her daughter find her own way and not get hurt. What with us childproof-unaware adults leaving our laptops and cords laying around, unzipped beach bags gaping open and inviting curious hands, open bedroom and bathroom doors with dragons lurking a'plenty.

She slipped on the tile at the beach house and did a nose plant, hard, surfacing with that quiet, vortex intake of breath before letting out *the* wail. The one that brings all the adults running. Her nose bloodied, her mom red faced in guilt, not being able to get to her daughter in time and pre-empt the injury. But her mom was realistic in knowing this was but the beginning of her daughter learning her limits, testing her boundaries, and finding her own way in the world. Her bumps, bruises, and scars - internal, external - will become a beautiful, proud legacy of where she's been while serving as a compass to find the path ahead.

CountryMouse, you've been navigating your letting go path for some time. Beautiful's compass is well made, even if it's only hanging around her neck and not in hand as she swings on that trapeze under life's big top. She sees and feels you cheering her on, your heart in your throat at her willingness to release and catch so high above with no seeming net below. But *you* are the net. It's wrapped around her in an invisible, philotic web of protection. It's elastic. It bends and gives, for both of you.

Trust the net you've built. Trust the compass she's made. Breathe. And climb up the ladder and jump with her - you might like the view!


whitenoise said...

nicely put :)

Kristin said...

I was truly touched by this, Cheek. Thank you. Compass? I don't know that it even works right now. Seems to point otherways besides any semblance of north . . .

Dragons aplenty for Beautiful this weekend. I'd kill for her if she'd let me.

Oh god, the net is raveling at an alarming speed . . .

CheekierMeSly said...

When I was beautiful's age, I'd finished my freshmen year of college and came home to the last in a series of yearly changing condos FloridaDad rented after moving his NASA career to KSC. It was that summer that I begin to realize that this condo was not "home", and that I hadn't felt "home" for some time.

Wrote a poem my junior year in college about home being a place I've yet to discover.

Home is in us. Home is realizing we're all we need to be alive, but to LIVE and enjoy life, we need emotional creature comfort in the form of others. We often lose these creature comforts - these others - that we love. Death. Change. Betrayal. Choice. But home is not destroyed by one loss.

I don't know what advice I can give you that would resonate with Beautiful. What's been working for me in the last months?

Not resisting change; then embracing it. Not avoiding painful understanding; then demanding it. Not giving up in the hope of confidence in myself; then practicing it. Not giving up in the hope of sharing my life with another; and being brave to look for it.