Friday, March 8, 2013

It's Time

As a Mom with three children, all at different ages and stages in their lives, there is a constant reminder of my need to “let go”. The degree and circumstances of releasing my hold on each of them, however is varied. My eldest turned 21 in January, a milestone age in and of itself, and as she finishes her third year of college, she is busy looking for summer employment. Internships across the country, possible apartment searches, and budgeting realities face her now. It’s all very exciting for her. I am happy for her too, yet I catch myself saying, “Of course if you live here this summer, you’d be saving more money”. Then my husband chimes in, “Anne. Where were you when you were 21? Weren’t you married?” Sydney adds her two cents: “Mom wants me home this summer but keeps saying that after graduation I’d better be prepared to work at a job, move out on my own, and learn to become independent. Hmm...” Okay. Points taken. Go where you want, Syd. Do what you want to do. I’ll continue to work at letting go. It’s time.

The 17 year old is a senior. She has heard back from five of seven colleges and is waiting for news from another two. Her father and I have accompanied her to auditions, have listened to application essays, and have felt butterflies in our own stomachs as she tears open envelopes from various schools. For weeks she has weighed the pros and cons of going to a school that will require a plane ticket or the sacrifice of an entire day driving north to south. I am proud of the contemplating she has done. She’s mature, responsible, insightful. I’m torn in my thinking of where I think she should go. I have a say since I’m helping to foot the bill, but I’m reminding myself to allow her to make the decision for her own future. I envision the possibilities of where she’ll be in just six months’ time. Go where you want, Emma. Do what you want to do. I’ll continue to work at letting go. It’s time.

My youngest, at 13, is growing up too. Sure, I have him for another five years, but letting go so as to have him learn, to work from his own conscience, wants and needs, is also a challenge. Do I say yes or no to some of his questions or do I let him make a decision on his own after I put forth different options and perspectives? When do I exercise my own rightful responsibility to decide for him, and when is deciding for him the kinder thing to do for him? After all, if Mom is the bad guy, it relieves his own teenage stress and pressure with his peers. So, Paul. Sometimes I’ll let you go where you want and do what you want to do. But don’t think this will happen every day. Because we’re not there yet. It’s not quite time.

It’s time. It’s not quite time. What IS this thing called time? For the past few nights I have been reading Mitch Albom’s book, The Time Keeper. The tale of the first time keeper and the dangers of wanting to control time make for an interesting story, but the invitation for readers to reconsider our own notions of time and to appreciate how precious time is apparent. Reading the book has reminded me of an important universality. Like everyone else, I cannot, should not grow obsessed with hours, days, weeks, months, and years. I cannot allow sorrow over lost time to become a permanent hole in my heart. I cannot wish for more time, cannot fret over inefficient days or worry constantly over how much longer I have to be with my loved ones. Because counting life’s moments leads to counting them down. Instead, I need to mark stages of my life differently, by looking back and looking forward with joy and with faith that everything is as it should be.

My hesitancy to let go of my children will not dissolve completely. It never will. It never should. But I will enjoy watching each of my children grow in the new experiences that come to them. And I will always be here when they look over their shoulders to catch my eye. Yes, I’ll be watching, even as they practice their own lessons in letting go.

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