Letting Go

On a recent rainy day run, I discovered something beneficial about running: No one can tell if the water dripping down your face is tears, sweat or rain. No one knows for sure if your ugly red face is caused by emotion or exertion. It’s the best cover up for a breakdown.

A few weeks ago my daughter Lindsay got married.  She is now officially a married woman.  I am now the mother of two married daughters. I knew this was happening when I first met her now husband, Phil. There’s something about a man who gives flowers for no reason except to say, I like you, that tells you he’s here to stay. But that Saturday made it official.

Is she really old enough to marry?  Wasn’t she just my little girl?  I can barely remember.  As I walk her down the aisle, my heart beating, my eyes full of tears, sweating profusely (did I mention it was outside on a cold February day?) my emotions got the best of me. I did not cry during the ceremony.  Not during the reception.  Not when Lindsay and Phil made their big exit, everyone shouting, with sparklers and noise makers, as Lindsay in her pink running shoes, and Phil in his red shoes sprinted out of the building.  “Just for you, Mom!” she said. But that night when I got in my bed, happily, exhausted, I reflected on the day and finally letting go. It hit me too when she told me “I can’t call you next week Mom…I’m on my honeymoon.” That night after her reception, she hugged me tight and said, “See you in a week when we get back from Dominican Republic.” I am learning. Babies grow up.

image by PhotoLadyLove

The morning before the wedding, I got up, on a drizzling, cold day, put on my running clothes and ran.  Not far, not fast, just ran, to wash away the tears of emotions for the day ahead.  I knew I needed it; some time a reset run is imperative regardless of the weather. That day my condition warranted it.  I started running and felt a tightness move from my legs into my heart.  Finally, when I was in a rhythm, I allowed myself to let go of everything I had so tenuously held together all week long.  The rain bore down on me; my thoughts consumed me and finally, after about two miles, so did my tears.

I thought about how my time with my kids is so brief.  I thought about every old lady who wistfully smiled and warned me that time would fly by.  I thought about the kind of mother I have been, wondering if I am giving them everything they need and knowing that I really won’t know for sure until the time has long passed to do anything about it.  It took a few more miles to make peace with that. I finished my run, red-faced and weary, but at peace and full of excitement. The cold made me gasp, bringing me back to the present.  It was time to head home, to shower and head to my daughter’s house to get ready with the bridal party. Coffee, bagels, breakfast casseroles and mimosas await.  The day will get happier and happier as we’re bubbling over with champagne and caffeine. My reset run worked, I was relaxed, happy and content and I had room in my heart and my soul for more moments and memories with my sweet family.

The amazing thing about kids growing up is that it mandates that parents grow up too. Loving and letting go is a fine art, that requires practice and patience.  There is no manual; we learn as we go along, simultaneously teaching it to our children. Everything is happening as it should, according to a force far greater than ourselves.  As runners, we get a little taste of that every time we work up a sweat.

To love and let go.


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