I don’t care what Queen Elsa says. I’ve had about enough of Let It Go.
First we had to let go of summer.
Neither Sam nor I was quite ready for that one.
Did I tell you this is his senior year? SENIOR YEAR! With my older kids, I was Miss Matter-of-Fact Mother. You know, Isn’t Launch Day what we’ve been preparing them for?! No Kleenex for me. Pass the punch.
But Sam is my baby, and I didn’t appreciate the mean school people making him pose for his senior class picture THE FIRST WEEK OF SUMMER in a fake tuxedo instead of letting him do a normal dorky school picture in September that I could put on my desk and stare at, imagining him living with me forever.
So Tuesday, right before his first day of school started, I made him do a normal First Day photo by the front door. So when I get anxious I will look at this picture and say that nothing is changing and everything is staying the same, and my front door is just getting smaller, so there.
Then, the second after I took it, as I stood there in my pajamas and bare feet with the camera, it occurred to me that this is the LAST ONE. It’s the LAST First Day photo that I will ever take in my whole life as a mother. And I remembered this photo and how I took it of Sarah on her first day of kindergarten back in 1995.
I’m so old. It’s a wonder I still have my own teeth.
Like sands through the hour glass, so are the days of our lives.
If that weren’t enough, we’re also trying to let Jack and Jill go. Remember our kittens, Jack and Jill? This is them, writhing around on their backs by the welcome mat like college freshmen who have finally been released into the world and are so excited that they don’t know what to do with themselves. So they come to the door and show off that they are free from the oppression of human beings!!! Now would you kindly feed us please.
It’s a lot easier letting cats go, probably because if you let them stay indoor cats forever, then you have to scoop their poop. If my children did their business in a litter box, I’m sure I’d be dragging them out of my house into the world with strings around their necks too.
But it still wasn’t easy.
I worried- and still worry- about cars and dogs and owls with big talons. I worry that they’ll forget where the pet door is or they’ll fall in love with the sewer line under our house and want to live there forever. But I know that they’ll love living as cats outside, doing their business in the bushes, gnawing on grass and chasing chipmunks. So Todd and I tied strings on their collars and followed them around the yard like crazy people, letting them discover things while still under our care.
And then, after a couple of days of demonstrating to the neighbors that we had indeed lost our minds, we cut them loose. We let them go.
I could spend my time hoping they don’t get flattened by a car but I’m choosing to try to focus on the joy I see in their hopping around the yard, chasing each other or chasing bugs or squirrels and climbing trees. They LOVE life outside our house, and they do come in and out to sleep in our bed and play with our milk carton caps and lick our noses when we’re sleeping and their food has run out.
Maybe it’s good preparation for a year from now, for the time when some obnoxious fellow mother says, “Isn’t Launch Day what we’ve been preparing them for?! No Kleenex for me. Pass the punch!” I can sniffle into my tissue and say to myself that I’m going to try to focus on his joy, that he’ll love life outside our house, and he will come back in occasionally, to nap on our couch and play with our video games and leave me notes that all the Taquitos have run out and we need to buy another 2 gallons of milk, please.
Until then I’ll remember Hosea 11:4, when God says of God’s children, Israel, I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love. To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them.
Even if I’ve cut all the strings, at least I can remember that God stands out in the yard, calling my children and your children and you and me to come home, even when we’re our most obnoxious, or when we writhe around on our backs like new college freshmen, bragging about being finally free. It’s not just me watching over them, hoping for the best for the people I love. Here Becky, Becky, God still says.
Maybe I’ll just focus on that.