The first step of transition, according to William Bridges, is this: knowing what you are letting go of, and letting go of it.
That works when you are letting go of stuff – it is a bit harder when you are letting go of people. As my children grow and mature, I find this step difficult but not impossible. I like who my kids are becoming, and I cheer them on. There are moments of bliss when we are all around the table laughing (thank you Andrew). And then, we return to the airport to say goodbye.
My oldest is now on her own. She won’t ‘someday’ be finishing school – she did that. She returned to California this morning to continue her new life. We’ve left her at the airport many times these last three-four years, but this time it was different – this time she is returning home, and her home is somewhere else. We aren’t letting go of our baby, but we are letting go of that piece of our identity that is wrapped up in our firstborn – she gets to take on the world now. Suddenly, like the pain of labor, the pain of teen transition is thoroughly forgotten, and we just remember the bliss of knowing and being known on a level no one else can fill.
We don’t let go of people – and this helps, because as we continue to love, we will redefine our relationship in new ways. But first, I need to dry my tears.
This has been a foray into the deep parts of my mommy heart, but I know many of you have endured a similar loss – maybe you are the young adult, embarking on the future, or maybe the distance was created for different reasons. How do you deal with the pain? What do you do to redefine your relationships?