Friday, July 22, 2011

Giving Up or Letting Go?

When I get stressed, I cry. This is no secret to those who know me. Tears are a good thing to have happen to me, however, because it means I am releasing the tension that has built up inside. So this morning and this afternoon, I am crying. It's been a long day, but it's a very stressful time. There's a lot that needs to be released.

Why am I so tense in the middle of my blessed summer vacation? Well, in a few hours Sydney will take the keys and head two and a half hours north to go see friends. I'm understanding of her need to go. She's nineteen. I am cool about her spreading her wings. I just wish she could indeed USE those wings and safely FLY (not drive) to where she needs to be. It's her first solo trek to her college town, but more than that, she's leaving on a Friday night in the middle of the hectic tourist season, and she's only had her license for 11 days.

I'm told I need to "let go" but the truth is, I won't be able to breathe deeply until she's off the roads. I've often read that we try to control things because of what we think will happen if we don’t. In other words, control is rooted in fear. And yes, I am filled to the brim with fear. I just don't think this is the right time for her to be doing this. I think she needs more experience, but I get the irony that she can't get that experience without driving more and more. I said no (very loudly I might add) last weekend, but this weekend I felt torn about making the decision so I put it all on my husband to weigh. Was that acceptable to do? I don't know. I'm not sure what is the right decision to make. She's got her license. She's nineteen. But I just feel I can't give her my blessing to go. Call me overprotective, call me a control freak, call me a worrier, but we all know, I'm just her Mom. This is how I'm built. I love, I care, I worry, I stress, I sometimes freak out, I usually cry. But okay, even if it's with my daughter and my husband prying my fingers off the reins, I let go.

What some see as a control issue, I think is more complicated than that. Business writer and speaker Jessica Hatchigan once wrote, "There's an important difference between giving up and letting go". I am sure she was not thinking about my current dilemma, but I think that is the problem I am having right now. In trying to let go, I feel as though I am giving up--on making sound decisions, on being a good parent, even on Sydney's safety and well being. It feels as though this is the hardest time in my life as a parent. Childbirth was a cinch. Dirty diapers and projectile vomiting? No sweat. Even ending maternity leave and returning to work was easier (and believe me, that was TOUGH...each time).

In returning to one of my go-to sayings, "Let Go. Let God", I continue to struggle. In trying to put it all in God's hands, I am thinking I need a distraction until I get a text saying she is safely at her destination. I could read. I could clean the cellar. I could work on curriculum work. I could organize some drawers. I could clean the bathroom. I could watch a movie or two. I could play a board game. I could go out for dinner, or on a nice local sunset cruise, or I could even punish myself and go for a run.

I mean, if I'm going to be worrying and crying, I might as well drop a few pounds while I'm at it. I can easily give up or let go of those.

Sydney, don't drive any faster than your guardian angel can fly. And text me. Often. But NOT when you're behind the wheel. Be safe. Watch out for the "other guy". Stay attentive. Get home alive. And oh yeah, I love much it hurts...a lot.

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