“Life seems to flood by, taking our loves quickly in its flow. In the growth of children, in the aging of beloved parents, time’s chart is magnified, showing in its particularity, focused so that with each celebration of maturity there is also a pang of loss. This our human problem, one common to parents, sons and daughters, too-how to let go while holding tight, how to simultaneously cherish the closeness and intricacy of the bond while at the same time letting out the raveling string, the red yarn that ties our hearts.” – Louise Erdrich, The Blue Jay’s Dance
I still remember the very day she came into our world. Pink, crying, and eager to be held, we wouldn’t let her go to sleep in the general nursery. In unison, we told the nurse, “It’s ok if she sleeps with us.” Neither my husband and I got any sleep that night. I kept watching her chest move up and down. Her breath magnified my comfort. I store this memory in my internal time capsule.
If you asked me on that day, whether I could imagine my six-year-old daughter graduating from Kindergarten, you would be met by silence. Today as I watched her don her white gown and cap with her 2012 tassel, much of what I felt was an out-of-body experience. How could six years pass? And did I relish everything about her in all those years?
She took to the steps to find her place on the stage. She sang God Bless America and recited poetry. When her name was called, she shook her teachers hands and smiled like she was wearing her heart on her face. Her teachers reminded all the parents that time does go by fast and that we should enjoy every moment. At various times in the evening, I tried to hold back my tears, but when my daughter announced on the video slide show that she wanted to be an artist when she grew up, it filled up a space inside of me too deep to access.
What is apparent is that my daughter is developing into her own. She has definite opinions about what to wear, how she spends her time, and what books she likes to read. Every choice by her is her achieving her own personal milestone. As this happens, I acknowledge that it is one more way where I fade into the background. It is a sad, but a necessary realization.
Your children grow. And eventually you let them go.