“The art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.” Henry Ellis
I know it’s only September but before we know it, it will be 2013 and the months will float furiously past our doors. Lately I have been thinking about all that has transpired since last September. This year has been a chaotic and emotional roller coaster ride. I am so over this year already. In January I was finally diagnosed with Chronic Lyme disease after years of trying and failing to figure out WHAT THE HELL was wrong with me!! The months that followed are a muddled blur of IV treatments, natural antibiotics, injections, regular antibiotics, supplements and way too many doctors visits. I believe that I am at a place where I have let go of any and all expectations for my health. I simply had to let high expectations go – for my sanity, for my family and so that “one day at a time” won’t seem so disappointing, when each day seems harder than the last.
This year, I also let go of my desire to have another child. We tried for years after my youngest was born and it was a shocking surprise to me that it didn’t happen quickly like it did with my girls. I wanted another baby so bad I could feel it. There were days when it almost seemed like I could wish myself pregnant. I saw the bright pink lines on the test. I thought I felt the nausea. I had the dizzy spells. I just knew I was…but I wasn’t. One negative pregnancy test after another, month after month was more than I could bear. Around the time of my diagnosis, I realized that I needed to stop going down that road. I’m not healthy so I know it would not be wise to get pregnant. It is for the best and for so long, I wanted to believe that sentiment but I couldn’t. God knows best but I wanted to know better.
I wanted one more time to be pregnant, one more season to hold a newborn baby, one more sweet soul to watch grow . I didn’t know with my last pregnancy that it was the very last time. We had planned to have more children so looking back, I wonder if I took it for granted. I want to go back in time and soak up every second, relish each pregnancy kick, each nighttime feeding as the last time to experience that sweet bonding time with my baby. I think if I had known that my last pregnancy was the last time, I would have done more, maybe even loved better, seen differently or in the very least…looked with new eyes. But I have let it go. I am blessed beyond belief that I have two amazing little girls. My heart is full. I am content.
This year was also the year I had to start letting go of my baby girl. She started Kindergarten and it was awful to see her get on a huge bus and be driven away from me for eight hours every day. We were joined at the hip the last few years so the first days of school were gut wrenching. But it was more than just a rite of passage, more than the thought of my last child growing up. It was what we went through the years before that day that made it so difficult. When Little C was almost three, she started having severe temper tantrums because of sleep issues and being a stay at home mother, I was the one that caught the brunt of her break downs – frantic flailing and hitting, yelling that she hated me in grocery stores and fits that would last for hours. HOURS. After each tantrum, I would hold her and rock her and just be there for her. Those days were definitely some of the worst days of motherhood. We painfully got through that time together but not without wounds.
Quickly following that season, I found myself dealing with pain and illness in a way I never had before and Little C was the one at home with me every day, for better or worse – all day long. Since she was not in school yet, she bore the brunt of my illness just as I had taken the brunt of her tantrums. And this time, she was there for me. She lay beside me when I was too weak to move and brought me water when my legs could not be trusted to walk. We bonded in a deep way and I think it was because we had just weathered a terrible storm together and here we were, weathering a different kind of storm, again – together. She came with me to most of my doctors appointments and IV treatments. She would sit in the chair next to me, patient and quiet – with a little worried expression when the nurse would get out the needle but I always assured her it didn’t hurt and that Mommy would be ok. I took special precautions to make sure she didn’t see the needle as it threaded through my vein. Being able to look over and see her sweet, smiling face in the chair next to me made me forget about the pain and the hours that I felt were wasted. After my treatments we would get Wendy’s (her favorite) and then belt out Coldplay in the car on the way home.
There were times when I passed out from pain or fatigue while we were playing puzzles on the floor and she would entertain herself or cuddle next to me and gently wake me up. She rarely complained if we couldn’t go to the park or the library or if I had to cancel a play date. She understood (as well as she could) and she knew that I couldn’t help it. She seemed to be fine with our ever-increasing “pajama days.” She loved being with me and I loved being with her. Our old wounds had healed and the scars – barely visible.
As I write this, she is probably finishing lunch sitting next to good friends already dearly loved. When I run errands and see mothers with their little ones in tow, my heart sinks a little bit. I miss my buddy. I am beyond thankful that my sweet girl doesn’t have to go through bad days with me in that capacity anymore and I hold tightly to my memories of afternoons at the park on my “good days” when her laughter and spontaneous dancing would make everyone on the playground stop, notice the extreme cuteness and smile. Or when we would make a Starbucks run and she would want every cookie and pastry she could see and of course, I always got her the over priced cake pops…because she loved them…and because, why not?! Life is so short. Get the freaking cake pops! Or when she would look over at me with her big, beautiful blue eyes – jump in my lap, grab my face and tell me that she loved me and was praying for me. Those days were hard…really hard. But I wouldn’t take back the last few years for anything in this world. It is incalculable how much I gained during those hardest of days.
Even though it is September, I have let go of you, 2012. I have let go of faulty and flawed expectations, dreams that will flutter back into the shadows – never to be. I have let go of old regrets that creep up on me in the middle of the night. I have let go of a time that will never be lived and memories that haunt and hurt. I am embracing what lies ahead while at the same time keeping a death grip on my memories of cuddling with my babies in footy pajamas and dancing in the kitchen with tiny toddlers on chilly fall nights. I am letting go of wanting to be “normal” and embracing the truth that God will give me strength for each day, each hour and every minute. I will keep my eye out for miracles that might be disguised but may just need more time to be revealed. I am letting go of so much, which in turn creates more room for hope, possibility, and more moments that will be forever seared onto my heart.
“Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.”