If You Love Somebody, Set Them Free.

Okay, yes those are lyrics to a 1985 Sting song, but they rang oh so true today when I came across a quote on my igoogle page. I have a daily literary quote rss feed on my google homepage. Yesterday, it featured a quote from American Poet, Mary Oliver and all I could think about after reading it was, "that lady must have kids."

The quote went something like this:
"To live in this world, you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go."
I hate to reveal that it was only after watching "Benjamin Button" recently that I first had a paralyzing realization that I was indeed mortal. No, I didn't think that I was a superhero or a downy white unicorn bathed in light before watching the film, I just hadn't really given it much thought.

It wasn't until seeing poor ol' Benji aging in reverse--from a wrinkled and crippled infant to a wrinkled and crippled old man--that I truly came face-to-face with the fact that I am nurturing the next generation--someone who will only be budding into puberty just as I will be waning into the second half of life. I will be gray and he will be pimply. I will be mom and he will be my rebellious teen. I will be Grandma and he will be Dad. I will be a memory and he will be Grandpa.

Your 20's aren't really a time when you waste much energy thinking about your inevitable and eventual end--you are just beginning what will hopefully be a long and successful life as an adult. Not even turning 30 this year changed all of that. Having a baby did, however.

Now, several times a day, I am saddened by the reality of time's quick passing.

At nights when I am rocking my sweet suckling baby as he drinks and sniffles at my breast, I already envision the time, not very far off from now, when those gentle quiet moments of pure raw love and mutual dependence will come to an end.

And my breast will eventually return to me. And from my breast, I will have to let him go. On to a sippy cup. On to a big boy cup. On to a fork and spoon.

While my eye is pressed to the camera's viewfinder, I can feel time ticking each minute into the past and imagine Dean, myself and Noah Finn years from now watching what I am recording at that moment--laughing at our "dated" hair styles, cars, furniture, clothes--things which are for us now new and modern.

And, our home will return to us. And from our home, we will have to let him go. On to college. On to his own home. On to his own life.

There will come a time that I will have to let him go--let him flutter on without my constant guidance, nurturing, or intervention. And the time is coming sooner rather than later. The independence has already begun. I am preparing now for the"letting go".


jacqueline f. said...

joni, i think about this a lot, and it makes me a little teary. i think that is why being a SAHM might be a really great thing. i want to savor every second possible. this thing called parenthood is just too much fun and amazing not to. you really say it beautifully.

Anonymous said...

Joni, this is so beautiful. My grandpa passed away a few weeks ago and it's had me thinking on the circle of life and tearing up at how even now Henry wants to sit on his own, wrestle the spoon from my hand, every day he becomes more and more his own man and the future will be here before we know it. What a gift to be able to mostly be in the moment enjoying it even though it's slipping by. These little guys, their precious lives ahead of them...it makes me feel so heartbroken and so deeply blessed all at once.

Rosanna =) said...

I really really don't want to let go!!!

Johanna said...

Just taking a walk through your archives... this post realy stands out to me. My 6 months old (named Noah too!) is growing so fast and as much as I want him to grow and flourish,I can't help but wish that time could stand still.


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