Monthly Archives: July 2016

Holding tight and letting go

baby stauntonIt’s a funny thing, this life.  Full of ups and downs and twists and turns.  And the older I get, the more I feel I have little to say in which direction it takes.

As a kid, I thought it would be the opposite.  If I got good grades, went to church, brushed my teeth, came home on time, I had this illusion that I had some say in what would happen to me.

If I was good, life would be good.

And for awhile, actually, it worked for me.  I got my A’s, my teeth didn’t fall out and I was rarely, if ever, grounded. I was surrounded by good friends, my home was a safe haven. I had much more than food and shelter.  I had love and security.

Now forty some years later, I am fortunate to say I still have most of that. My teeth included, give or take an implant or two. But there has been a major shift in my thinking.

This world we live in is both fragile and solid, turbulent yet predictable. And I have come to understand it is all more out of my control than within it. Much to my surprise, that realization has been more liberating than frightening. Accepting that fate or God or something much larger than my little finite mind can imagine is at the helm, has started me on a journey of letting go.

I am trying to stay in the moment, with the joy or pain and just live it as it happens. Appreciating the present which is after all, the only thing we can really be sure of.

Since my last post I have been busy living plenty of beautiful moments.  My eldest had her third baby, her third boy, who melts my heart and lightens my days.  My son, who fourteen years ago I worried would not live to be married much less have a child, just had a son who shares his name and gentle disposition. This expanding brood is a gift.  And brings me peace and solace amidst the storm of the daily news.

My brother who was given months to live a year ago, just celebrated another birthday. He surprised his doctor and himself. We know he won’t beat this thing but he is showing me how to fight it with grace and dignity.

Moments. Savored moments in between the stuff we think is so daunting but in our hearts know is not. Too many days of rain or parking lot scratches on our car or Murphy’s Law lines at the grocery store.  Just stuff.

My son and his son and I had a spontaneous, quiet afternoon yesterday.  It was a rare day for Chicago summers. Clear and crisp. Little humidity for mid-July. Breezy verging on windy per the city’s reputation. We took a long walk in his neighborhood. Places we have never walked, just he and I, since he moved in three years ago. I knew it was a moment.  I relished it.  Every step.

And after a couple hours of walking and talking and stopping and cooing over his beautiful boy, a half block from his house, out of nowhere, without a snap or a crack or a bit of warning, a healthy huge tree limb crashed to the sidewalk fifteen feet in front of us. We were both taken aback. Startled out our placid little stroll.

We stopped and almost in unison we asked what was it that we did in those couple hours that put us twenty seconds behind that limb, not under it?  Was it the second pair of jeans I tried on at the 75% off sale, or when he insisted I step onto his knee to hoist me up to see over the picket fence of his favorite house in the neighborhood?

I looked to the heavens and said, ” Thank you, Mama!”  My agnostic son did not laugh or chide.

We walk through this world thinking we have some control and out of nowhere we can be stopped in our tracks. Or spared.

The now.  That’s what we have.  I’m trying to live there.

Staying there is my challenge. Unfortunately, it takes something within my feeble reach but something I often cannot muster up.

Self control.