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Letting Go

I’m feeling kind of shaky today. My two older sons are with their dad and granddad in the wilderness of Yellowstone Park on a pack trip. Horses and tents and campfires, the real deal. This also means no cell phones. I thought I’d be alright with this, but I woke up this morning with a lump in my throat and an empty pain in my gut. Was it the I saw before I clicked off the light last night? First one since 1986 in Yellowstone.

You know how your children sound so much littler on the phone? Far away, high munchkin voices pressed to your ear. Umbilical cord still intact through the ether. It’s been 36 hours. My boys are in the woods, off the grid, unreachable.

I hold onto that idea that the path to freedom is mostly about letting go. That it’s not easy, but when we walk through the painful, hard stuff with an open heart, we get to walk out somehow feeling expansive and free. This is what the wise ones keep telling us. They must be right because that’s the way it always happens for me, when I’m brave enough. Right now I’m not feeling brave. I just want to curl up into a fetal position and wave my white flag. Letting go feels impossible.

I’m listening to this song, reminding me of the grace on the other side:

That and I made last night are keeping me together. You should skip the soup and just make the croutons.

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Christina Mann #

    oh…..you have captured the feeling of the umbilical cord stretching so well…..and I love the ether image, I feel that I live in that fog so much of the time, trying not to feel too much but not wanting to miss a thing.

    love the song, I also like the Water is Wide for times like this….

    just bought a cauliflower.

    XXXChrissy

    July 7, 2011
  2. Marshall #

    “the path to freedom is mostly about letting go…”

    Yes.

    July 7, 2011
  3. #

    Oh, this could have come straight from my heart. Thank you, thank you. xox

    July 7, 2011
  4. Karen #

    Erin
    I need to share with you something the director of my boys’ camp wrote on his blog. Joe is there now and Johnny is going Saturday — to a camp in northern Wisconsin that does not post photos of kids, does not allow email contact with kids, just old fashioned letters. He is writing about having laryngitis and having to be more of a spectator than usual:

    “A funny position for me….one in which I take a backseat and let others do their thing. This is a conversation that I often have with parents that enquire as to why we don’t do phone calls or emails with the boys. I always explain that part of what is meant to happen at camp is that the boys are put in a position in which they have more responsibility to deal with the things that come up in their lives. As a parent myself, I know all too well how inclined I am to feel the need to step in whenever I see or hear about anything that is not going perfectly in my child’s life. But, part of the beauty of the no phone call/no email recipe of camp is that neither the boys, nor their folks, get immediate feedback on things. This means that the boys (with the help of their counselors, each other, their Village Directors, and a variety of other AWESOME role models) figure out how to deal with some of the complications that camp life throws at them without all of us well meaning parents figuring it out for them. It means that by the time you call me about the letter you received from your son, talking about how he is having trouble getting along with someone, and I check in with that camper, I will be treated to one of my favorite and consistent lines from campers here, “Oh that?? We worked that out a while ago….things are fine now.” (I swear, the boys actually put the ellipsis in their responses…I like to think that is the influence I have on them!) And the beauty of that statement is so deep. It means: “Things are good now.” “I took care of it by myself.” “I am proud of myself for handling this.” “Tell my mom not to worry.” And, of course, “Leave me alone Kaplan, I want to go canoeing!”

    If your boys are with their father and grandfather, you know they are in good hands and yet, still, getting by without Mom will be a growth experience for them. Not easy, maybe, and definitely not easy for you, but something that will help them grow up to be resilient. And that’s what it’s all about, right?

    July 7, 2011
    • #

      Yes! But not always easy or without some pain or discomfort, right? And, like the kids your camp director described, I have managed it on my own, already shifting from being in the grips of fear and anxiety to excitement to hear the stories they will come back and tell. So growth all around!

      July 8, 2011

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