July 12, 2012

Letting Go


This year appears to be my year of letting go.

I'm not organized but I do like to know the plan. Where are we going? When will we get there? What'll happen next? Yeah, I'm that person. But this year has stripped "the plan" away from me. It's taken twists and turns I didn't expect or want. Moments that weren't on my agenda.

My daughter going to Africa was one of them.

I had envisioned us going together. Maybe as a family. Maybe just the two of us. But things didn't work out that way and I was sitting here wondering how the heck I would handle her going. A family friend of ours went too, so it wasn't as though she was totally alone. Yes, she was with a group but--

My baby, worlds away. Too far away to get to if something happened. Too remote to talk to often. Out of my eyes and arms reach. Before she left there were times I freaked. Not outwardly, but inwardly. I felt myself coming unglued and terrified. Fear took over and I knew it. I knew it as it happened. I tried to step out of the fear and find the source of it. It was difficult but I sifted down to one tiny piece:

I wasn't in control.

A shiver crawled through me. It was then I heard a small voice whisper, "You were never in control." It wasn't exactly reassuring and yet, in a weird way, it was completely reassuring.

It was like jumping off the high dive for the first time. You're terrified knowing danger could happen. You look down at what seems like thousands of feet. You think about climbing back down the ladder and maybe you do the first couple of times. But then, there's the one time you step off. You free fall for what feels like eternity until you begin to wonder if there's water there to catch you and that's when it wraps itself around you in a liquid embrace. You come up for air trembling with the victory of your feat. You climb out of the water changed. The fear no longer holds you captive.

And so with my daughter, I jumped. I let her go to Africa. I said goodbye at the airport without falling apart. I only spoke to her twice the entire trip. I knew I wasn't in control.

I let go.

And it was good.


P.S. She got home two days ago, happy and full of stories. :D


22 comments :

  1. How beautiful your daughter is! She looks so happy there with the two little girl's from Africa...what an experience. I get what you are saying about letting go...good for you because I know this was a big one. xo

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    1. She looks happy because she IS happy. I think she felt she belonged there. :)

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  2. I can't imgaine how hard, as a mother, those times were for you!

    I'm so proud of you both! (So, I've been MIA lately, is she back? Did she have a blast?)

    Loved your comparison to diving...absolutely beautiful.

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    1. She IS back (I realized I hadn't said that so I added a note) and LOVED it! Thank you, Kristi.

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  3. You wrote this piece so beautifully. Sad. A a parent, the sadness and fear are understandable.

    But the post is also full of hope. I pray that all will go as planned and that she will return with more gifts than she would ever imagine possible. More kindness, empathy, knowledge, love....

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    1. Oh I love your wish of such beautiful gifts, and I believe she received them. She's back and has been telling us beautiful stories. As for the parenting part, sad, yes. But needed. And I'm glad you felt the hope.

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  4. "You were never in control" I think that's so poignant, important. Your daughter is so beautiful and vibrant looking :) I can imagine that letting go was hard.

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    1. It was, but realizing I wasn't control in the first place was a turning point for me. Beautiful and vibrant describe her perfectly.

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  5. She's so beautiful! I know it wasn't easy but what an experience for her. Amazing

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    1. Yes, it WAS an amazing experience for her!

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  6. What a great picture! I'm sure it was a fantastic experience for her to do, especially at such a young age. Great post, Catherine! You're stronger than you give yourself credit for, you know. :)

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    1. Definitely an unforgettable experience for her. And thanks, Kristin. :)

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  7. well done my friend
    I think as our children get older we HAVE to let them go when they themselves are ready
    my mother didnt and it contributed to the fact that my sister and I are now estranged from her
    sometimes it hurts

    If you love someone, set them free. If they come back they’re yours; if they don’t they never were.

    My daughter left home when she was 13
    I didnt want her to go it broke my heart but I set her free we werent getting on and she wanted to go and live with her father (who lives about 5 hours away)and then my parents (8 hours away)
    despite all we went though including estrangement for a while
    she made contact again when she was 16 and now shes not only my daughter but one of my best friends :) Shes now a very supportive, loving and wonderful daughter

    our daughters and us could be twins
    they like my daughter and I look a LOT like each other

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    1. Thanks for the reminder, Jen. I'm glad you and your daughter had such a happy ending!

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  8. you can be proud of your self Catherine
    it is hard to let go of those we love
    yet so imperative for their growth....and ours : )
    I have discovered through parenthood that our children grow us up as much as we do them
    there will be constant letting go of them, I realize this
    but for now
    you can pat yourself on the back for coming through this one on top!

    love and light
    enjoy her being back home!

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    1. Yes, this time; but I'm sure there are many more letting-go moments to come. Thanks Cat!

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  9. For me, the feeling of letting go was more like a sinking feeling than falling. And I had been preparing myself for years! Funny how nobody ever talks about that little piece when they discuss the joy of having kids. :)

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    1. It sounds like you've already let a child fly. I remember my parents saying often, "It goes so fast" and I suppose they were trying to warn me.

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  10. Oh wow!! I would feel just the same!!

    Steph

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    1. I know you would! I'll send hugs when it's your turn.

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  11. Having been through this myself I know well how proud and how terrified you must have been. . .but isn't she beautiful!

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  12. it is hard isn't it...but oh so worth it when they return full of their adventure to have for the rest of their lives!
    cheers, dana
    love the wombmates!

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