Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A License to Let Go.

I am reading Sharon Olds’ My Son the Man while walking the paths of the morning.

Sweet motherhood. I could write about it for weeks. For months. Years. It could, in fact, be the script of my life.

Yet I would miss the heart of the matter did I not realize the subtle twists of mothering. To mother my child also implies the child be me.

It seems no time since I helped Alex into his play suit, placed him in the pram, and walked towards “Mathilde”, the huge, toy adventure ship in the far corner of the park. On our way we would pass the statues: men and women and children with skin of granite and bronze, expressing inner worlds in outer bodies; Eros, The Monolith, The Wheel of life. Clustered in groups or bordering the bridge were the old and the young, engaged in love and lust, calm and conflict, wrestling themselves and others, turning, twisting, toiling.

In the middle of the bridge is the Boy, the famous little Angry Boy, frozen in an eternal cry, hands clenched, feet stamping.

Alex was familiar with the Boy. We would stop sometimes, pat his bronze fists, or stroke his cold, metal toes. We would talk to him, ask what was the matter. And when at home, the Boy was there to greet us from a poster on Alex’ bedroom wall.

Why had I brought the statue home? Was it to teach Alex something further about the art and esthetics of the park? Was it for the recognition, as in “Look, Alex, the Boy on the bridge!”?

Or was it to give him that permission to protest, to stamp his feet, to insist, persist, not to give in, give up, to express rather than keep inside all that wild and eager energy?

Or was it my own permission I was seeking, my own longing for a license to let go?


  1. All of the above, I suspect.

    (I am fearful of my parenting role right now, as I have left my marriage and enter a new relationship. I am not as comfortable as I was. I look for forgiveness, I suspect, in amongst the ruins and rebuild. It is an alien place for me to be but crucial to my learning.)


  2. Erin -

    Phew! So much to learn. Always. All the time.

    Yet this is the most beautiful word in any language. Mercy. Grace. (That would be two words, I suppose :-) In Norwegian I use the one - Nåde.)

    Are we supposed to be comfortable? Perhaps the unknowing is what makes us humble. Perhaps the unknowing is in fact what saves us in the end.

    Peace and blessings and all good things.


  3. The letting go is the hardest part. My 2 daughters are both in their 30's now and I swear, I still miss the children they used to be, and am still learning the art of letting go. I may never learn it. Someone once told me that to have a child is to forever have your tender, beating heart walking around outside your body. So true, so very, very true. Blessings...

  4. Marion -

    Yes, so true. So very, very true!
    Yet this is a new experience - the gift of a grandchild. Again holding a warm, soft baby in my arms, again making a little face laugh.
    And then to see My Son the Father. My hearts smiles.

    Blessings to you as well.