Friday, September 21, 2018
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Floating in uncharted space

 “If I can let you go as trees let go/...Lose what I lose to keep what I can keep,/The strong root still alive under the snow,/Love will endure—if I can let you go.”—May Sarton

 During the nine months I watched my belly protrude into space, well wishers kept telling me how my life would change forever once the baby was born.

Still, I was unprepared for how quickly Elizabeth Barrett the writer and teacher became “Betsy’s mom” and it happened so subtly.

Not until Betsy was a high school junior did I realize just how intertwined our lives had become.

Her activities became my activities and modes of entertainment and well . . . I lost myself.

Months before she left for college, I knew no one could prepare me for the letting go experience.

Once that day arrived, we had plenty to take care of—moving in, dropping and adding classes and attending a poignant matriculation ceremony. Around dinner time, we both knew it was time for me to leave.

In the tiny room with concrete walls, we sat on her cheery, yellow comforter and cried for awhile. It felt good to get it out.

More tears poured out on the long drive home and I was feeling okay when the cats greeted me in the dark.

A month now has passed and I still sometimes feel untethered, like an astronaut floating around the Milky Way.

Although my daily activities have not changed much, the empty space in the garage grabs my heart each time I pull in or out.

And sometimes the loneliness is overwhelming.

Kids leave home, parents die, pets get sick.

Like a tree growing in a difficult place, writer Joyce Sequichie Hifler describes how the plant sends down deep roots to grapple for firm footing.

Seasons of sadness one day bring fountains of joy the next and roots grow stronger.

To weather life’s next big change.