Letting them go
I haven't blogged in months, I think after my last post, I needed a break. Needed to be alone with my own thoughts and feelings. But today, I feel like I have been swallowing tears all week, and much of what I am feeling I believe is universal.
Hackett and Tobin are 7.5 years apart. It has given me such a unique perspective as Tobin hits stages that have been gone from our house for so long that I have almost forgotten them completely. Our house is once again filled with the sweet sounds of pretend play. This morning as we woke up Tobin told me about the owl, flamingo, and polar bear who were climbing up the mountain outside our window. All in great detail, even though the blinds were still closed and we live in one of the flattest areas of the state. Its beautiful to watch him find joy, delight, and excitement, from literally nothing but his own precious mind. I am not sure the last time I saw Hackett escape in to his own world, its been years. He lives in the real world now all the time. This world is hard, it can be very scary, and there are so many unknowns. As you grow it becomes increasingly harder to find that escape, to breathe easy, to fall asleep without worries of tomorrow.
This week Tobin has been battling a virus. I can't take away his runny nose, but a cuddle can bring the comfort he needs. Today as I had music playing, he walked over and wanted to slow dance. He just snuggled in for 10 minutes as we danced around the kitchen, nuzzling his nose on my cheek and giving me kisses. Hackett still likes to cuddle his mom, but on his terms and his time. When life is hard, often his first response is not to come for me for comfort any more, but find his own quiet place first. There is so much that I cannot fix. So much beyond my ability to make better now for him. He no longer fills my arms, but more my daily thoughts. I wonder if he is okay at school, am I making sure he is healthy enough, did he pick up those flu germs going around school, is he happy, does he think I am nagging him all the time, have we taught him enough, do we set a good example for Jesus, will we have to move again and will he be able to endure that yet one more time, why did I lose my patience last night with him, what time is his practice, he needs to eat lunch before his game, does he have pants clean for school, does he feel accepted in this environment, is he rushing through his school work, am I being a the mom he needs, did he wear his coat, why won't his teammates pass the ball to the new kid, does he still enjoy learning, how is the bump on the back of his head. And while this - and more - swirls in my head, much of it I cannot speak out loud. I can't, and don't want to, fix everything for him. His age is very real to me, I know in order to worry about him less, I must trust him more. I must allow him to stumble and trip on his own, to fall and get up without help, to triumph and win on his own too. He needs that confidence, that feeling of responsibility and ownership. I have stepped back, and I don't get to step closer again. I have to keep releasing him. Allowing him to grow up and mature. And I will keep walking the tight rope along the fine line of being there to catch and support him when needed, but allow him to balance on his own. To stand. To be strong. To be a man.
I feel like this is a universal challenge, but I had to let go of Koen. I walked away from the hospital, from his gravesite, and the town where he is buried. It wasn't slow with him. He was ripped from me. But I had Hackett, and clung tight to him. As I am healing and he is growing, I have to let go of him too.
A snuggle and a coloring page are sure easier. And before I know it I will have to begin letting go of Tobin too.
Motherhood is the most beautiful heartbreakingly wonderful challenging experience.
I am Jackie.