Monday, October 21, 2013

Letting Go

When I was younger, I never understood why my parents would be so worried about me if I was out with my friends, or coming home late at night.  Other parents, I thought, were not this "over-protective," and I felt frustrated, infantilized.

Well, now I think that they handled it well.  I was out with my friends, or with people they didn't know, driving on my own.  You are 2 1/2, and the people I leave you with are at daycare.  Or I leave you with your dad, who I know loves you and takes great care of you.

Today and tomorrow, you are spending the day with your Grammy Rogers, who loves you so very much and will also take great care of you:

And yet, I get this feeling deep in the pit of my stomach, like something is being ripped away from me. I now understand that, when you carry a baby around for nine months, you really do "connect" in a deep-seated way.  I also don't know what it's like to have a non-special-needs child, but taking you to therapy four times a week has really, I feel, cemented this bond between us.  It is just so very hard to "let go", even when I rationally know that these are people who love and care about you.

Don't worry--I'm working on this because I know it's healthy for you to develop independence, spend time with different people, etc.  I've been really trying to give you time alone with Daddy and, now, with Grammy, and I hope that you'll get some good alone time with Nagyi and Papa.

But it does make me realize how hard it is to let a child, any child, go.  And even if you don't have children, this holds true for every relationship we have in life.  The minute we have a bond with someone, we try and tie them even closer to us, thinking that the more we cling to them, the tighter the bond will be.

Paradoxically, trying to hold on so hard just makes things worse.  When we let go, people will come to us.  And, as the cliché says, loving is "letting go."  This morning, I thought about what that meant for God and His gift to us.  Whatever you believe, you have to admit that the story of Christianity is a beautiful story of selfless love.  I think about my love for you and then I think- "this is the kind of love God would have felt for His son."  Probably even moreso, since our love is always tainted with selfishness in some way.  So the fact that he sacrificed Jesus for us, that he "let go" enough to let His son die for us, is truly amazing.  I think about how I feel when Jules isn't with me for a few days, and then I think that God must truly have wept (or whatever the God version of weeping is) that day.

So I think Christianity has a lot to teach us about parenting.  While God did let go of Jesus for us, we are also His children, who he loves unconditionally.  And so (and this is the tough part to wrap my head around), he let go of His Son in order to redeem his sons and daughters.  And he let Him go so that he could fulfill his higher purpose.

Now don't get me wrong--I won't be sacrificing you any time soon, and this is a huge leap from giving you more alone time with other people.  But I do want you, too, to fulfill your "higher purpose," and I know I can't do that if I'm holding on to you too tightly.  So this year, as my spiritual discipline, I will work on "letting go," not despite my love for you, but because of it.

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