That seems to be the season I'm in right now.
Letting go. Letting go of one kid, who turned 18 a month ago, and is testing the strength of our mother/child bond every day. Letting go of him means allowing myself the luxury of admitting that he is not perfect, and is not going to do things by the book. Letting go of him doesn't mean I've stopped loving him...in fact, quite the opposite: my letting go of him means I love him so much I realize this is what I have to do. Now I understand how the mama bird feels when she gently (or maybe not so gently) nudges her fledgling out of the nest. That's the only way they'll ever learn how to fly.
Letting go. Letting go of another kid, my baby...who is leaving elementary school this year and is on his way to The Next Step. That means letting go of my role as Elementary School Mom, a role I've played for 13 years. That's one year longer than I played the role of Wife. My "older" friends, meaning friends who have already left elementary school behind them, have been advising me over the years, advising me about this somewhat traumatic dissolution between mother and school. "When it's time, you'll be ready", they all said.
And they're right. I'm ready. I realized this during the last PTO meeting I sat through, and I watched a few of us old battleaxes raise our hands and offer suggestions and make motions. And then I watched the new batch of mommies, all eager and YOUNG and fresh and did I mention YOUNG? I watched them and realized that this is how it's meant to be. Time to make room for the new ones, like the moms before us did. I flashbacked to one of my first PTO meetings, I was pregnant with William and sat next to another mom who was gently rocking her newborn baby girl in a carseat. It was one of the few nights I was able to go out, on my own, and there I was in the stuffy library (we call it the "media center" now), dazed at the organizational and communication skills these veteran moms were displaying like peacocks in full plumage.
Letting go. Letting go of the fantasy that my kids will be kids forever. How is it that life can turn so quickly, that those never-ending days have somehow shot by faster than a speeding bullet? I remember when I got pregnant with baby number four, someone with a not quite firm grasp on the concept of tact asked me, "Why on earth would you have another baby?" and before I could stop myself I answered "Job security."
Letting go. Letting go of the anger and the sadness and the frustration over being left. I like to talk big about how I'm so over it, and how I'm getting my groove back and how I am like the mythical Honey Badger (warning, NSFW or kids) in that I don't give a shit.
But the reality is, sometimes it takes a while for wounds to heal. And although mine may appear to be healing up quite nicely, thank you, there are still some tender spots. They say that on average, it takes about five years to get over a divorce. I'm a few months behind that statistic, but then again, my divorce has had a few restarts over the years. It's still rearing its ugly head, and I see now that my proclamation to Big Daddy, all those years ago when he first left, that "this will change things, forever" was right. Nothing is the same, and nothing will ever be the same. I know someday, I will see a text from him and not wince, and I will someday listen to the kids talk about something they did at "his" house and not feel like someone just kicked me in the stomach. That someday is long overdue. I need to let go of whatever phantom weight is on my shoulders, whatever invisible chains I have decided to wrap around myself like a female, middle aged version of Jacob Marley.
Letting go. I need to let go, in order to go on.