paradox: something (such as a situation) that is made up of two opposite things and that seems impossible but is true
Graduating a girl. She is graduating. My girl, the graduate.
I am happy. She is ready. This is the natural and right path and I have done my job and I am not finished but THIS CAN'T BE HAPPENING and did I do it right and how can I be finished with the thing that defined me for practically every breath of my adult life.
The shadow of how I pursued and relentlessly chased motherhood looms over me (read all the other blog posts from oh so long ago). From the age of 23 I prayed and actively worked and drove my husband crazy and drove myself crazy and maybe I drove God crazy with a plea and a prayer and a purpose to be a mom, or more precisely to mother. I wanted to mother. And it took a long time to happen and when it did I dropped everything and I did it. I relished it. I rejoiced in it. I relished them, these perfectly imperfect human beings born into a moment of suffering that turned into my greatest joy.
This year on Mother's Day it occurred to me that maybe we should call it Happy Smother's Day because oh my, mommy is having a hard time letting go. I am aware of the natural path of parenting and the goal to "raise independent human beings" and I am definitely not desiring any more dependence and...she, the first, is preparing to fly the nest. She has strong, sturdy, beautiful, graceful wings. She is practiced and accomplished and capable and smart and funny and sure of herself and she is ready to fly. I want her to fly. And then I just can't do it. I can't. I'm not ready. She and her sister and her brother and their daddy are my heart and soul and I am grateful that I am cultivating my own garden and that God is leading me toward my passion and giftedness in loving and teaching kids with different abilities. But still. This moment is here. I am not ready. And I am ready. She is ready. I cannot wait--like I'm holding my breath--to see the path that she charts for herself.
So I'm holding this paradox, these two opposite emotions that seem impossible but both are true, close to my heart. I'm holding her, my graduate, close too but don't tell her. And I'm thanking the giver of all good gifts, the One who brought blessing that runs both ways to heal my mothering sorrow and to heal my girl's tragic and undeserved beginning, the One who is writing her and all of our stories still.
To God the Father be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
from Brene Brown~an Instagram post reflecting on her own daughter's high school graduation
"There's a combination of joy and grief that can take your breath away. The sum of these two parts wells up inside you and holds your breath hostage until you let go of the notion that you can control the paradox and choose between joy and grief. Your breath returns only when you submit to the reality that you are caught in the grips of both delight and sorrow. Both are strong. Both are true."