Never let anyone kid you that letting go gets easier with experience.
Yesterday afternoon, Hugger Steward and I were out working on his driving, as it’s not long till he takes his test. He’s been learning for 4 months and is a good driver on the whole, so if we’re just proceeding from A to B for a purpose I tend to be pretty relaxed and forget the “L” plates on the car.
When we’re out to practice specific things, though, it’s somehow a different matter.
I remember all the things he doesn’t know, imagine all the situations he’s unprepared for, and all the anxieties and neuroses of a mother watching her offspring try their wings come into play with a vengeance. Against all reason, all need, yesterday saw me clenching my hands, applying my foot to a non-existent brake-pedal, indulging in all the dotty behaviours that seem to be part of my pattern when struggling to let go of control of something or someone important. As we came down a steep hill towards the race-course, I remembered another time when I’d felt just this way…as Hattie Gandhi, aged 6 or thereabouts, raced downhill on her bike, just days after taking off the fairy wheels for the last time. It felt like a parable of parenthood then, and it still does…that headlong rush of a child into their future, leaving me standing, wondering at their courage.
After a cosy Christmas break, with familiar traditions revisited, and young adults largely content to fall into the roles they’ve taken right through their childhood, perhaps it’s not surprising that the current dose of letting go feels particularly challenging…specially when I realise that next time HG comes home it will be to a different house, one that she will never have lived in full time, one that she may never really think of as “home”. She went back to uni yesterda, and HS is beginning to prepare for his stay in Africa later in the year… Their mother is slowly unclenching her fists and continuing to work on smiling as she watches them fly.