To Courtney: On Letting Go (Again)

I cried a river, spilled crocodile tears, cried like a baby…You get the idea. All those cliches related to crying, I did it.  And, I started early too. I didn’t wait until the day of imminent sadness arrived; I cried the night before. You would think someone had broken my heart. And, I guess, in a way what my heart experienced was close to a broken heart, only it wasn’t. 

My youngest daughter is now a freshman at Austin Peay University. The night before I drove her there, I cried like I was losing my best friend because, in a way, I was. Well, she was moving out temporarily anyway. I’ve been a single parent for more than a decade and during that time I have built an awesome bond and friendship with my kids. Three of them are grown (over 18) and in college. My two oldest attend college here in Memphis. But my baby decided she wanted to go away, to be different, to taste what it’s like to be on her own. And I admire her and am very proud of her for that. 

But the night before I was to drop her off, I was a mess. She is, after all, my baby girl. So, I wrote this poem. And as I was writing it, tears spilled from my eyes. I knew that before I left her at her dorm room, I’d have so much to tell my daughter. Lots of things I’ve told her over the years and some of the cautionary nuggets I’ve picked up on since learning she was going away. I decided I would share the poem with her and then we would both be crying like babies. We’d say “I love you” once more and then I’d get back on the road and head to Memphis. It went nothing like that. As I spent the day with her watching her move into her dorm, walk around the campus, and shop for things for her room, I watched her open up and laugh and truly enjoy herself. I felt foolish for trying to keep the status quo and keep her from becoming her own young woman. Yes, I shed a few tears. And, yes, I cried some during the drive back. But then I shut off the waterworks and realized this is what I’ve been preparing her for her whole life. This is truly a bittersweet time for me. 

I do still have the poem though. It’s called: To Courtney: On Letting Go (Again). Letting go, not leaving home because as our children move through life we parents have many times when we must let go of our kids and release them into the world: the first day of kindergarten, getting their first girlfriend/boyfriend, their first outing without a parent, and, of course, the first day of college. We have to trust and pray that our children will remember all we taught them and that the people they come into contact with will value and appreciate them. We pray that, even though, no one can ever love them the way we do, someone will indeed love them. 

So, here’s the poem that I did not read to my daughter. 

To Courtney: On Letting Go (Again)

People look at you

they hug you

tell you

I know

I know how it feels.

They lie

straight to your face,

feeding you the lies

meant to sustain

the complacency that lives

behind your cries,

trying fruitlessly to erase

your pain.

The eraser of choice

empty words meant to be

a calming balm.

Don’t they know

there’s no way to

calm a mom who

is hurting so deeply

inside that the mother

heart feels cracked,

fractured

with pain disguised

as joy.

If you only knew that

the smile on my face hides

pain so deep and wide where

joy is experienced alongside 

the sudden desire to

throw a temper tantrum.

I want to throw myself

on the floor, kick and scream

my head off trying

to get my way even

though it didn’t work

when I was two, yet I’m

not ready to lose you so

I’m willing to try anything

I’m just about to do it too

I look around, survey the

area for a soft place to fall

‘cuz I’m not two anymore

I am aware of the pain

that comes from falling

in love. I fell in love with

you 18 years ago and never

fell out.

That’s why I’m about to fall

on the threshold of your door

Till you put your arms around

me, lift me up with words and

strength, whisper in my ear

“Mom, I love you and I’ll

miss you. I’ll be home for

every break and call you

every day.” I wrap my finger

around those tasty lies because

neither of us realizes, this

is really the beginning of the end.

A new chapter of our life

For now I’ll have to hold onto

you by re-reading earlier chapters

while you move forward to

create the rest of the book.

I feel better now. I didn’t throw a temper tantrum and I’m glad I didn’t. I have raised a wonderful young woman, a woman I am very proud to know. I don’t regret a thing. 

Happy writing and reading peeps!

Peace & Love, 

Rosalind 

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About Rosalind Guy

I'm broken & my soul is weary/ my weary soul rebels, fights/ anything & anyone who tries to heal me/I beat my head against a wall of memories/ trying hard to break free from the chain of memories/ I can only be free by saying it so/ i weave a necklace from words and finally/ I find freedom/ free free free. As you can see, words are powerful to me. As Maya Angelou said, words are wallpaper of the soul. I have lots of nightmarish memories that threaten to break me, but I learned a long time ago about the power of words. They can be used to heal and destroy anything that threatens to destroy the person. Words coupled with love have the power to save and heal. I am author of three books: Skinny Dipping in the Pool of Womanhood, Tattered Butterfly Wings, and Blues of a Love Junkie. I am a high school English teacher. I am a former reporter. I am a mother. I am a woman. I am a fierce advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves, those who's voices go unheard. Check out my Amazon author page at the following link: http://www.amazon.com/Rosalind-Guy/e/B00BGH5F88/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1432491754&sr=8-1.
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