I felt it about two weeks ago while driving to a friend’s house to drop off tupperware. It was my first moment alone since August. My first time without Sage. As I drove down the road on that breezy, warm night, it snuck up on me and almost caught me by surprise. It had been a while, but was oh so familiar.
After more than nine months of attachment and togetherness, I was without my baby. It was weird and didn’t feel right, but I didn’t cry. Maybe it’s because it all happened so quickly and I didn’t realize how significant of a moment it was until I was halfway home? Or maybe it’s just because I’ve become a little numb to the feeling of letting go?
I felt it again a couple days later when we decided to move her out of our room and into her own. I really dreaded it this time around which was not the case with my other two. It actually hurt to not have her in the same room as us, but I knew we eventually had to let go and have her sleep in her own space.
And then the same feeling overwhelmed me yesterday when I studied her in my husband’s arms. Our not-so-new newborn looked rather long and big compared to her first days at home and it made me really sad. How has time already passed this quickly and why in the world don’t babies keep?
It happens with my other children too. It gives me that giant pit in my stomach as I watch my oldest daughter pedal away from us on her bike and realize that someday her free spirit will likely travel far, and there will come a time when she will leave us, hair in the wind, bravely trekking forward and barely looking back. It makes my eyes well up with tears as I watch the little boy who used to be my baby talking in full sentences and expressing himself when it seems like just yesterday he was saying his first word.
Letting go has been present in every phase, age, season, milestone, and it is one of the biggest hurdles I’ve faced in motherhood. It’s constant. Always there. No matter how much I get used to letting go, it never comes easy. I’ve actually found that it gets even more difficult as time goes on as I experience more, open my heart and dive deeper into my relationships with my kids.
But, amongst all of the emotional wreckage that comes with watching my children grow before my eyes, they continue to find ways pull me in. And oh, how I love the ways they pull me in. Their growing independence and self-sufficient nature is still accompanied by I love yous, needy tears, laughter, cuddles and “mommy, can you play with me?” I pray they’ll reach for me for the rest of their lives because as hard as it is to let go, it’s pretty darn great being someone they continue to turn to in times of need.
Letting go is soooooo difficult, but there really is beauty on the other side of it.
A very Happy Mother’s Day to all of you moms, moms-to-be and moms in waiting. I hope you feel celebrated this weekend!