The Pie Baker

Fresh from the Oven

Letting Go…Or Not

Please forgive my woeful neglect of my blog….I promise to do better!

Many years ago, a friend of mine became quite emotional as she told me about a song called “Letting Go,” by a female country artist. It is apparently the story of a woman who learns to release her fears and anxieties about her life, trusting that it will all turn out okay. The song’s lyrics are simple, but impactful: “There’s nothing in the way now… There’s room enough to fly… and though she spent her whole life waiting, it’s never easy letting go.”

The story begins with a woman who is packing her daughter’s belongings as she prepares to leave home and attend college – she must let go of the relics of her daughter’s childhood and accept that the girl is now a young woman. Then the story turns to the empty nest woman whose husband suddenly leaves her; she must let go of the anger and betrayal in order to move forward with her own life. Finally, the same woman’s mother struggles for life in a hospital. Regardless of the pain of losing her beloved mother, she knows that it would be better to let her slip quietly away to a better place.

Letting go seems to be a really difficult thing for anyone to do. When we are small children, we want to hang on to our blankies and dummies (my word for pacifiers) because they provide us with a sense of security and familiarity. I think that’s the case for all of us even as we grow into adults. There’s the excitement and anticipation of something new, but when it becomes comfortable, well-worn and cozy, we attach ourselves to it – whether it’s a pair of jeans, a driving route to work, or a significant other. We can’t bear to let go of it either because of the memories attached to it, or the way it comforts us or the ease of it. In all those cleaning and organizing shows on cable, one of the things the professionals ask is “Have you used or touched it in the last 6 months?” Good question.

When I was teaching the Pie to walk, her first steps were equally exciting and painful for me. She was moving toward a certain level of independence and I wasn’t sure if I was ready for it. I took her tiny hands in mine and felt her pulse race as she tentatively stepped forward. Her eyes shone and her grin lit up and I could feel her subtle tug against my hand, quietly asking me to let go…to let her strike out on her own, regardless of boo-boo potential. But I couldn’t do it. I could not allow those pudgy little fingers to slip through mine so soon…it seemed the last vestige of our invisible bond was slipping away. Eventually, of course, I did let go and she hasn’t been still a minute since!

I now find myself faced with another kind of decision about letting go of something. It’s not tangible object: an old pair of shoes, a cherished photograph, one of the Pie’s toys. It’s something that at one time was integral to my life on a visceral level, but that now serves only to frustrate and anger me.

The answer to the question of having touched it in the past 6 months is a resounding “No.” Nor has it touched me. It seems to have disappeared into a cocoon, slowly mutating into something unrecognizable and certain to never be the same again. But even as I walk right up to the precipice, dangle it over the abyss and prepare to release it from my grasp…I can’t. I don’t know why, but I can’t throw it away. As much as I need to – want to, even – I can’t.

I hope she knows that.

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March 23, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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