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“Holding Tight while Letting Go”

I picked up “Live What You Love” by Bob and Melinda Blanchard to read yesterday morning. It was a random selection, something I do occasionally when I’m in between purposeful readings. The process: I stand in front of my bookcases and scan titles until the book I am meant to read jumps out at me. This book is orange. I don’t remember buying it, which is often the case – one of many impulsive book buys in my life. Trusting the Why will be revealed, I buy the books that speak to me. I don’t always read them until years later.I love the moment I understand the Why. This morning it was clear.

Timothy left for Utah last night and my heart is crying a steady stream of sadness, a whole body feeling that weighs you down from the inside. The outside can smile and express how excited you are for him. You can imagine his adventure and beam with pride at the young man you’ve raised. You can know with certainty that you have done a good job and prepared him well. You can know without a doubt that he will be better than okay – he will grow in so many ways. You can feel all of that incredible, positive, exciting stuff and still your heart will cry. Inwardly, knowing how much you’ll miss his smile, his laugh, his hugs, his sarcastic wit, and insatiable thirst for life.

You’ll feel like you should have paid more attention along the way. You should have realized the day he first left he wasn’t coming back. When was that day? It feels like it was the first day of Children’s House. He was three. I didn’t want to take him. It feels like it started then, his pull to leave – my pull to hold on.

Maybe I did pay attention but I didn’t listen. Maybe I’ve known for twenty years that he would leave me. My gut trying to tell me all those years ago, “Get ready. This one is going places. Prepare yourself. This one will love you fiercely but he’s gonna need you to love him enough to let him go.”

That is the Why of this book. As I read “Live What You Love”, I’m reminded of exactly what this child of mine is doing at this moment. He is living the life he loves, stepping bravely out there into his dream and I am blessed to be the mom who witnesses it. It is my honor to be the mom who encouraged the boy to draw geometric designs for hours and days and to love Frank Lloyd Wright to the point of obsession. Something inside me planted within him a seed that has grown into a passion for architecture and a spirit of adventure.

How lucky am I to be the mom who for years watched the passion he felt each time his foot touched the soccer ball, his enthusiasm and energy filling the space, allowing me to feel the excitement vicariously through him, that moment when his body, full of adrenaline pushed itself to be all that it could be. Now, that same young man has found a new passion for the outdoors and he’s moving to Utah to hike and explore a place he has grown to love with the girl he has chosen to share his life with. How lucky am I to be the mom of this young man?

So I’ll let my heart cry as long and as often as it feels the need. After all, I will miss him. But I will feel gratitude for all that this next adventure is with this boy of mine. Together we are growing as I learn to hold tight and let go in one grace-filled movement.

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How lucky am I to have something that makes saying good-bye so hard.

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