Letter to My Son

My Son

When you were born you melted my heart in a most unexpected way. Having already been a mother for 27 months I thought I knew what it was like to experience a mothers love. I was wrong. I learned that the love a mother has for each of her children is whole, unconditional and consuming. How can this be? If it is whole how can there be room for more? I don’t understand it, I just felt it. You filled my world with love and the funny thing is that I really thought it was already full.

The love a mother has for her son is totally different than the love she has for a daughter. You were my “little boy blue” all sensitive and kind and yet rough and tumble and always dirty. You were perceptive way beyond your years, like you had the soul of an old wise man in a young boys hole-in-the-knee body. Even at the tiny age of less than two you always seemed to know where you were and how to get home. You knew far better than your big sister when to drop a fight with Mom. I remember you sitting in your booster chair at the table watching as ‘Libith’ as you called her, kept arguing with me over something stupid. She never understood when to drop it, but somehow you did. You said to her “Libith, just stop. Just stop. Life’s tuff Libith.” Profound words for such a tiny little man.

I loved seeing the world through your eyes. Your attention to detail always amazed me. Even as a little guy you studied your history books, learning about Revolutionary War Battles before you could pronounce your words correctly. When we took you to Lexington, MA for a visit you recognized the bridge we took our family Christmas picture on and stated clearly to me that it was in your book at home. Doubting you, I said something like “really,” but when we got home you ran to your room, found your book and showed me the picture. You were right!

Always curious you questioned your world. Constantly exploring bugs, nails, screws, and books, you would develop new ways to play with your cowboys and Indians or army men, it was amazing but you could entertain yourself for hours lost in your own world of make believe.

Almost always happy, unless you were sick or really tired, you were a steady personality in a home filled with the drama of a big sister. You were able to notice things, especially my moods in a way that often took my breath away. On a particularly busy day when I felt rushed and a bit frantic you came up to me unexpectedly and gave me a hug and whispered in my ear, “mom do you need a break?’

You would notice my new hair do or a nice new t-shirt and you’d offer up the kindest and most sincere compliments I have ever received. “Mommy you look solo pretty!” you’d say.

Your world was a busy place full of battles and make- believe worlds. You made fun out of the simplest of games and could play for hours with a dishtowel tied around your neck, playing like you were Batman saving the world.

I used to worry about you because you could not sit still so I would make you practice sitting still on the couch for five minutes at a time. You would prefer to watch TV in a hundred different positions, upside-down, over the back of the couch or sitting on the arm of the chair. It seemed to me your world went racing through life 100 miles per hour. I later came to realize it was your bright mind that was going through life so fast and your body was just struggling keep up. The more active I kept you engaged in learning the more you were able to control your body.

Your instinct to build and design was strong from an early age. One of your earliest favorite toys was your workbench and you would hammer hours away. Then you turned to cowboys and Indians and army men and you would line them up and orchestrate elaborate battles. You’d tie a string to them and drop them down the air vent so that they could make emergency landings or coordinate fancy rescues. As you got a bit older you moved into the world of Lego’s and were able to build anything and everything with only your inquisitive mind and creative energy. I never quite understood how but you could build the fanciest of spaceships or jet planes.

Your kind and gentle style helped you take on a gentle leader role. You led more by example than anything else. You were solid and sure, at peace with yourself and your world. I used to get a kick out of watching you make decisions in life. You would look at your alternatives, logically evaluate things and make a decision. Then you never had buyers remorse, you were good with your choices. I know as you got older, there were times when you questioned things but you always impressed me with your sense of self and purpose.

As a young man you grew even more inquisitive of your world, exploring it through the world of books. Your depth of knowledge even now astounds me when I realize you know so much more than I about many things.

Going forward in life my wish for you is love, happiness, peace and joy. I hope you continue to explore your world, continue to build and create, and continue to have a solid and true sense of self, faith and family. Now that you are a grown man and it is time for you to step out into the world, it is a sad and exciting, strange time for me at the same time. I can’t wait to see what you do to make this world a better place and I am confident that it will amazing. You are no longer my “little boy blue” but in his place I now have a solid, strong man of great integrity and character. What a blessing for a mom!

I love you and I am proud of you. Go make a difference in this world!

Love,
Mom

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Nunchucks

Sassy Girl

Before I had children I had the naive thought that as their parent you could shape or mold them into the kind of person you wanted them to be. Over the years I have learned this was a pretty crazy idea. Children are who they are programmed to be; we are here as parents just to try to keep them on the road to success. How they get there is really up to them.

My oldest daughter loved dresses from the day she was born. As a toddler the worst thing I could do to her was make her wear pants. She’s cry and fuss “but mommy I won’t look pretty!” she’d wail when I banned her dress for the afternoon as a punishment for hitting her brother. Quite befuddled at this line of thinking I remember trying to coach her into a more feminist forward way of thinking.

“No honey, you are beautiful from the inside out, who you are as a person is what makes you beautiful” I’d crone on.

“No mommy if I don’t wear a dress I won’t be pretty. It has to twirl!” She’d just as stubbornly insist.

Episode after episode like this transpired over the next umpteen years.

My son would make a gun out of any toy or object in the near vicinity no matter how much I worried if this was politically correct or not. He’d climb up onto the monkey bars at the playground, whip out his thumb and forefinger and start loudly gunning down all the kids on the playground like he was holding a machine gun! I’d run over and try to tell him that he could not shoot the other kids like that. “Why not?” he’d ask as if I were talking to him in Hebrew.

“Because it is not nice to shoot other people” I’d try to reason, more worried about what the other mom’s thought than if this was really that awful of a game.

“But I’m not shooting the other kids mom,” he’d explain to me like I was more than dense. “I’m shooting the bad guys” duh!

In an extremely lame attempt to teach him right from wrong I finally settled on insisting he could only shoot at cans, not kids. He would roll his eyes at me like I was hopeless and continue on with his game. Whenever I’d call him on it he’d insist it was a can he just gunned down and not a bunch of bad guys like a scene from Rambo.

After surviving this thing called motherhood for over 20 years I am starting to lighten up about things. Take my youngest for example. She is currently 10 years old, bright eyed and innocent, just like I’d love for her to stay forever. Instead of bubble wrapping her like I’d like to I relented and enrolled her in the most unlikely of all extra curricular activities- Taekwondo. Yes, I am paying good money to Master Lee to teach my sweet little girl how to fight and how to fight to win.

How did this happen you ask? Well, actually quite innocently, but now that she is signed up I am starting to embrace the idea, kind of.

Master Lee has a Taekwondo school here in town and a year and a half ago he came to her elementary school and put on an assembly. He got the kids excited about marshal arts and offered to support a fundraising event for the school. He would let you be a student at his school for a month for $50 and he would donate all the money back to the school for a climbing wall. Brilliant marketing I must say.

“Sure, we’ll let you go do Taekwondo for a month and contribute money to your school climbing wall” my husband and I readily agreed, thinking nothing of it.

It did not take long to see that Maggie was born for this stuff. She had excellent balance; she could really snap her snap kick. As we watched the class from the hallway it was not difficult to see that she had a knack for this sport. In fact, compared to the 18 months we had just invested in gymnastics she progressed more in one month at Taekwondo than all 18 months in gymnastics.

My husband became a believer after just the first day of class. He looked up on the gymnasium wall and found the words “Quitters Never Win” “Winners Never Quit” “We Are Not Quitters” and professed his support. “Now this is a program I could support,” Dan announced. “I am so sick of all this ‘we’re all winners’ crap out there” “finally someone who has their head on straight!”

Yes, we signed her up and immediately dropped gymnastics. Over the next year we watched in awe as our baby girl earned to break boards with her elbow, foot and wrist. She learned moves designed to drop grown men to their knees in mere seconds and much to my horror she learned how to whip nunchucks around like Jackie Chan.

Her big brother and sister now have a newfound respect for their baby sister and have learned not to push her too far. I guess I now know she’ll be able to protect herself when she is all grown up and goes off to college and I guess that is a good feeling.
(clink on the link Taekwondo to see Maggie in action)

Taekwondo Maggie

For me, learning to let my children become who they are meant to be is a lesson in love; it is not up to me to determine their journey just to be there along the way to cheer them on.

So my friend, I ask you “what’s next on your list?”

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Prayer Path

Prayer Path

One of my bucket list items is to help my child make a dream come true. While I am sure I will have more than one opportunity to support my kids over their lifetimes I think I was already blessed with one chance to do this.

Our son Sam has been involved in Scouting since he was in the second grade. One of the things he wanted to achieve was the very prestigious rank of Eagle Scout. I think Sam wanted to set this goal and then work toward achieving it for several reasons, one being a sharp young man he knew that it would definitely improve his chances for acceptance at top colleges, and give him an advantage over others in the quest for scholarship money, but I also think he wanted to see if he could be one of the 1% of young men across the country who are involved in Scouting who work hard enough to be called an Eagle Scout. I suppose the fact that his dad was an Eagle Scout also came into play a bit. Whatever the reasons Sam set this as his goal and Dan and I intended to offer our support.

Dan took a strong position on this issue, that being that he was already an Eagle Scout, if Sam wanted to do this he was going to drive the process himself. Dan was not going to push to the point of micromanaging Sam just so it would happen. It took Sam awhile to decide if he was going to motivate enough to get the job done, but when he decided he was determined.

The actual process of getting a project approved was probably the most difficult aspect of the whole process. Sam pitched a few ideas before he “found” his true calling. Sam talked with Father Brad of our church and asked if he had any projects that needed tackled. Now, Father Brad is a visionary and he had several ideas! By far, the most difficult project was the Prayer Path but in the end that is the one Sam chose.

I am proud of Sam for setting a goal and accomplishing it, I am proud of him for working so many hours during his Senior Year when he undoubtedly had many other demands on his time, but I am most proud of him for choosing such a massive project. He did not need to do that. If the goal was just to become an Eagle Scout there were easier ways to do that but Sam saw an opportunity to really make a permanent improvement on the church land, he saw an opportunity to create something that over 2000 families could benefit from and he saw a chance to honor the work of a previous Eagle Scout. That is what makes me really proud!

Father Brad really got excited when he realized Sam was willing to tackle this huge job and he used it ultimately to inspire other groups to take on other projects. After Sam completed his Prayer Path, the Hispanic parishioners designed and built a rose garden, the Youth Group built a gazebo and another scout installed benches along the path. I hope Sam realizes that he was, in part, the inspiration for all this positive action.

Once the commitment was made Sam got to work. First he and Father Brad had to agree on the overall design, Sam had to start the lengthy paperwork trail and line up the construction support he would need. Ultimately, the creation of the path required 15 acres of land, largely overgrown with scrub oak and other brush, to be cleaned and cleared. The path was mapped out and volunteer construction crews brought in to scrape the land and outline the path. Next Sam organized one massive volunteer building day, he spoke before the parish and asked for their time and labor. He motivated the entire parish to get behind him in this undertaking.

The actual workday Sam had a few jitters, I think he was a bit concerned if anyone would show up to help him and he realized there was no way to complete the path without a lot of support.

No fear, over 80 people not only showed up but worked over seven hours first laying landscape paper, moving rocks, then cementing the 14 Stations of the Cross and moving several tons of pea rock and shoveling it to even it out onto the new prayer path.

Dan supported Sam with good coaching about project management and helping secure the professional construction support necessary. I supported Sam with help getting the paperwork done, feeding the volunteers and a few time management pointers. In the end, Sam is the one who made the project happen, and his Dad and I got to watch him grow before our eyes. When Sam started this project he was a kid basically, a 17 year old who really couldn’t see what he was capable of yet. When he finished he was a young man who had just lad a project from inception to completion. He learned a lot about himself becoming an Eagle Scout. Dan and I were honored to help encourage him.

Sam was officially recognized as an Eagle Scout February 6, of 2010 and I think it really started to sink in to him what he had accomplished.

This fall I visited the Prayer Path on a Wednesday afternoon and watched over a dozen members of our community walk the path and take time for reflection. A teacher took her entire Faith Formation class around and they learned about the Stations of the Cross. I sat and enjoyed a beautiful fall day thinking of the young man who made it all happen. I was really proud of him. I called this young man, now far away in out of state, attending college on scholarship studying to become an engineer. I told him I was proud of him and that I loved him.

So my friend, I ask you “what’s next on your list?”

Sam and Father Brad

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Listen to Me

I have been writing now for a few months and I am really enjoying this new experience. I am finding that I have lots of ideas and the stories come to me at the strangest of times, sometimes at night when I am supposed to be sleeping. I am having a ton of fun reinventing myself and writing about it as I go.

Once I had a few stories on paper I decided to get brave and share them with a few very trusted friends. I felt very insecure, which is not a feeling I enjoy in any way. I was conflicted because I was excited about what I was doing and I wanted to share it with others but I was unsure what they would think. I was writing about really personal stuff and well, it was kind of hard to describe to people. Finally, I just got brave and asked a few dear friends to read it and tell me what they thought.

They did and they really liked it. One friend told me she was very disappointed, disappointed when she got to the end and there were no more stories to read. “Wow” I thought, that is pretty cool, very high praise from someone I really admire literally. Everyone encouraged me to do more writing and to share with others.

I thought about it and in the meantime I kept writing. Finally a few weeks later I called my two college age kids and told them what I was up to and I asked them to read what I had written. This in itself was a strange experience but I took a deep breath and just did it.

When I asked my daughter to read what I was writing she immediately got nervous. “Mom, what are you writing, a sex book? She asked, I think very serious.

“Oh dear God NO! You just have to read it to understand it” I tried to defend myself and explain myself at the same time.

I waited very anxiously for her to get back to me. A week later she finally called. I was afraid she hated it and didn’t know how to tell me.

Instead she said she loved it and that I really had to keep writing. She told me she knew all that stories because she was a part of many of them but that she learned something new with each story. She explained that she knew that we did Christmas cookies every year and she had many memories of this holiday tradition but that she never really knew why we did it.

I realized I was holding my breath while she shared this with me. It really mattered to me what she and her brother thought. Wow.

She also told me she thought it would be a shame if I didn’t share this with others.

When I told her I had reservations about doing that because what I was writing about was very personal to all of us, she stopped me, and what she said to me shocked me. My daughter very clearly and adamantly said, “Mom, how many times have you told me with my music to just go for it. How many times? You know too, mom that if I don’t put my heart and soul into a song it isn’t worth listening to. It only works if I give it everything I have. This is just like that. This works because you are being honest and putting yourself out there, if you didn’t do that, if you just wrote about something it wouldn’t work, it wouldn’t be worth reading. This is just like my music mom. You just have to do it.”

I felt like someone knocked the air out of my lungs. She was right. She had been listening to me all these years and she had come up with a perfect analogy. Her music could make me cry from its simple beauty but only if she completely put herself into the song and gave everything she had to give. Then it was magic. If she held back it was just another song.

A week or so later I told my son about my writing and asked him if he would read it.  “What are you doing Mom, writing your memoirs?” he asked squinting his eyes at me over his drink.

“No! Well, kind of, I guess you just have to read it, it is hard to explain.”  I answered.  Thankful that he at least did not think I was writing a sex book.  Dear Lord!

When I talked to my son he said he really enjoyed it and that he liked it very much.  I asked him if what I was writing about was too personal and I gave him the same list of concerns.  He said “bullshit mom.”  Ok, I guess we have a family vote!

It is an interesting thing when your child offers really good advice to you for the first time. Ok, I am trying to listen. I will keep writing, I will keep putting myself into everything I do heart and soul and I will give it everything I have to give. We’ll see what happens.

So my friend, I ask you “what’s next on your list?’

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Christmas Cookies

 

Christmas Cookies

 

As a kid I loved everything about Christmas.  I loved the smell of the Christmas tree as we put it up after Thanksgiving.  The pine smell filling our house with the anticipation of what was yet to come.  I loved the sounds of Christmas music wafting through the main floor, Elvis or Glen Campbell telling stories of Silent Nights and First Noels.  I loved decorating Christmas cookies with all my cousins at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.

Some of these memories are crystal clear, others just a bit fuzzy, in a warm and welcoming way.  Every December my Grandma would pick a Saturday and invite all 23 of her grandchildren for a day of magical cookie making.  Parents were only involved enough to transport us to her house, then they were encouraged to disappear and use their free time wisely!

Grandma's Gang

 

Grandma was an organized woman, she had to be, she and grandpa had eight kids and she was the aunt to another 18 kids!  She would be waiting for our arrival; her apron tied around her ample bosom and hips, the smell of warm sugar cookies floating in the air of her kitchen.  The long table would be set up with balls of dough, flour for sprinkling, rolling pins for the big kids, and tons of tiny cookie cutters in all shapes and sizes.

The grand kids ages ranged from late teen to newborn so the older kids would be placed in charge of the little ones.  I always seemed to be in the middle, not big but not the baby either.  The big kids would roll out the dough and the little ones would have the important job of selecting the cookie cutter of choice, should it be a Christmas tree or maybe an angel?

Next, the big kids would help load up the cookie sheets and grandma would confidently run the double ovens, continuously rotating the uncooked with the slightly brown finished cookies.
The best was yet to come, next we’d get to slather on the frosting and add sprinkles, chocolate chips, coconut and any other whimsical topping Grandma could think of.

Carrying on the tradition

 

As a mom I have tried to continue this special tradition with my own children, but even after years of practice I still can only handle my three kids and maybe a couple extra.  Every year I am amazed at the amount of cookie dough it takes just for my small crowd.  The volume of sprinkles and the dust of the flour can take hours to clean up but the fun is priceless.

Now that Grandma and I have switched roles, and I get to host these wonderful cooking magic making parties I have a whole new respect for what my Grandma was able to do.  I cannot even imagine how she had the energy to keep up with all 23 of us and still never get cranky!

I see, now that we switched roles, what a strong woman she was, and I hope that I can carry her traditions on in a way that would make her proud.

Doing it at my house

 

Grandma was a force to be reckoned with in many ways.  Her view of family shaped my view in more ways than I realized.  She was strong and completely unafraid to roll up her sleeves and get to work when she saw something that needed done such as a house to clean, a baby to rock, a hungry man to feed, or an orphan who needed a blanket.  She would just get to work and make it happen.  She managed to raise all these kids, usually fed another 20 hungry men every day for lunch and then raise chickens and grow a garden!  Grandma might have been a bit vocal, and things were not always calm around her house, but Grandma was the glue that held the family together.

A family that large can be a loud and rambunctious crowd, often there was some loud fighting, and it usually was not all warm and fuzzy, but when the chips were down and you needed a hand there was always a strong one from Grandma ready to reach down and pull you up and get the job done.

I hope that in my small way I can help continue both traditions, warm Christmas cookies for the kids in my family and a strong and steady hand ready to dig in and do whatever needs done so that a family that loves each other can be held together with strong glue.

So my friend, I ask you “what’s next on your list?’

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Dreams Come True

My daughter can dream really big. Ever since she was a tiny toddler she has wanted to be a star.

When she was tiny she would dress up in a frilly “twirly” dress, add all the accessories she could find, and then insist we introduce her grandly to the living room as “Lisa Peasant Girlllll!” She would then waltz grandly into the room and begin her performance. We would watch enthusiastically, clapping and cheering her on for the camera. This went on for years. I mean years.

At first my husband and I thought it was cute, then we thought it was funny, then we tried to distract her, eventually we gave in and just chalked it up to the notion that she would out grow it eventually.

As a kid she would insist on directing, writing and producing each and every play date. Orchestrating the play and play actors every move.

I remember trying to get her to let others lead. It usually didn’t work. I worried about this. Was this normal?

Flash forward about 17 years. The young, silly girl is now a beautiful, young woman. Confident and radiant she commands attention where ever she goes.

The young woman is a natural leader and has miraculously found that she can continue to direct and produce in every activity by becoming an officer of the school group.

The young woman loves to sing and when she opens heart to the song it usually makes me cry from its beauty.

All Grown Up

 

As a senior in high school this young woman was given an amazing opportunity, an opportunity she earned by singing the National Anthem at virtually every high school sporting event her large high school held. Much to all of our dismay, she was given the opportunity to sing the National Anthem at a professional Rockies Baseball game.

The night of the event, the Rockies played the Atlanta Braves, the stadium was filled and Saturday night excitement filled the air.

She walked out on the field and the field manager handed her the microphone. As calmly as if she were walking into school she stepped out and began to sing, acappella, all alone.

The words “Oh say can you see” ring out loud and clear from her voice, solid and strong. She was a sight to behold. The giant TV screen showed her performance to all in the stands and on TV.

“What so proudly we hail, at the twilight’s last gleaming” as she sang the notes got even stronger. Somehow she realized this was her dream and she gave it all she had to give.   She held nothing back; she had no fear.

In the stands, I was overcome with a wave of nausea, I was shaking from head to toe and couldn’t bear to let the air out of my lungs. I was terrified for her. There were so many people, the TV cameras were rolling, and everyone she loved was there watching her. My own insecurities drove my fear until I realized she did not have this fear. She was living her dream, sharing her gift with thousands of people.

As she hits the high notes flawlessly I stare at my beloved daughter in complete awe and admiration. She held the crowd’s attention for the entire four minutes and delivered a flawless performance.

Watching her spread her wings and fly I realized somehow I had managed to give birth to someone who just might change the world with her gift, a gift from God that she was not afraid to share.

So my friend, I ask you “what’s next on your list?’

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Letting Go

My son is going to college, out-of-state and 12 hours away from home. This is a good thing and a bad thing. I realize I want him to go to college, I am proud of him and his high school accomplishments and I understand that keeping him locked up in the house with me is not the socially acceptable thing these days. I am just really going to miss him.

He is a really cool young man, easy going and funny, not to mention, very helpful around the house! As a mother I am very conflicted. I think he is ready I am just not sure if I am.

I think he’ll make good decisions out on his own, but I am terrified when I think back to my college days and all the crazy stuff I used to do. What if he does something stupid and gets himself hurt or arrested? How can I protect him when he is not under my watchful eyes 24/7?

My imagination goes wild whenever I start to think of all the dangers awaiting him out in the “real world” and it only gets worse as the days tick off on my calendar! Swine flu, car wrecks, drunk drivers, floods in Iowa, contaminated drinking water, meningitis, drugs, college parties, infected splinters, mean girls, broken hearts, dehydration-so many potential threats out there waiting for my unsuspecting teenage son. How can I sleep at night not knowing if he arrived home safe? These are just some of the irrational fears that run through my mind at night. What am I supposed to do?

After wrestling with this for weeks, no, really months, I finally came to the conclusion that I am just going to have to get over it and let him go the same way I let his big sister go only 3 short years before.

To console myself I decided that a midlife crisis might be distracting, so I cooked up all these nutty bucket list items and decide that if I had to let my kids go and live a dangerous life I might as well live dangerously too and have a little fun.

I boldly announce to my son that I am taking him sky diving on his last full day at home. He was a bit surprised I must admit. Having the “fun sucker” for a mom usually did not include skydiving but he knew enough not to question my sanity prior to something this exciting.

Friday morning dawned as a perfect Colorado day. Temperatures were mid 80’s, clear, baby blue skies and mountains so crisp you could feel it as you took in the mountain air.

Mile Hi Skydiving indulged my whim only after I signed my life away on their release form and watched as my son boldly signed his name without a glimmer of hesitation.

I decided to splurge and buy the video tape thinking I would only do something this stupid once in my life and I had better record it for all the nonbelievers out there who really know me!

My tandem jumping partner’s name was Eric and he resembled a mid-life rocker with his salt and pepper grey hair and his cool tattoos and live and let live attitude. So far so good.

After we put our jumpsuits on, and were properly harnessed up we loaded a flat bed truck for the short journey to the plane. Still doing well. The plane was much smaller than I expected, especially when I started adding up all of us that were boarding, 20 seemed like a lot.

Inside it looked like it did in the movies with all the jumpers geared up sitting on benches facing each other in the crowded cargo hold.  I kept waiting for the panic to envelope me. Surely if I were a good mom I’d be worried about Sam but instead I was getting caught up in the adrenaline mixed with testosterone filling the air.

Soon Eric announced to me that I needed to hold the helmet, turn around facing away from him and then sit on his lap. Well, I had not thought this through very well, because I definitely did not anticipate this development. Sitting on a strange tattooed, rocker man’s lap did not seem like the suburban motherly thing to do. In fact, it seemed outright scandalous, but after looking into his eyes I could see he was serious I decided to comply.

Next, Eric started to clip us together and then synced us together so tightly I could imagine all kinds of improper things. Well, I had not been this intimate with a man other than my husband for over 28 years and this was really strange. Trying not to over think my current situation I tried a few deep breaths.

The next words still gave me cause to wonder when Eric told me to “scooch down into his lap as much as I could” In what really felt like a little dirty dancing, grinding motion I tried to comply. This was starting to get very interesting when all of a sudden, the hatch door flew open and Eric started sliding down the bench toward the open door. Within a split second I was faced with a whole new problem, that being the fact that I was now cinched very tightly to a strange man and we were standing in the doorway of a plane flying at 18,000 feet above the ground.

“Dear God what was I thinking when I signed up for this?” I thought.

Before I had a chance to panic Eric made good on his word and threw us efficiently out of the plane, and I was falling 120 miles per hour toward the distant ground. My ears started ringing, my cheeks were flapping in the wind and it was really, really loud.

This delightful stage is called the free-fall and while it officially only lasts 45 to 60 seconds it feels like a lot longer when you are actually doing it. Amazed at my enthusiasm for this I just enjoyed the rush and gave into the feelings this evoked. This was really wild!

A strange thought occurred to me mid-free-fall. It dawned on me that this experience held a very symbolic meaning for me. If I could let go of my fears enough to jump out of a plane with a complete stranger responsible for my well being, than I had the courage in me to let go of my son. Let him go rang in my ears with the wind. Let him go. This is what life was all about, feeling it, enjoying it, testing it and living it. Let him go. Let him go.

Just as quickly as it all began it changed. It felt like a light switched flipped on me and suddenly the parachute opened and we were floating. Peace all around, peace within my heart. It was like floating on a cloud, calm, pleasant, beautiful. We drifted toward earth slowly taking in the view of the mountains, the ponds, farms and other skydivers floating in the air above us. It was like time stopped for 4 minutes and I got to feel like God looking over his creation. I think part of the peace came from the recognition that it was ok as the mom to let go and let your child experience life.

When we landed, nice and softly, I declared to Eric that this was undoubtedly the coolest thing I had ever done. Letting go was good; it was fun, exciting and more.

Nothing bad happened and I realized that nothing bad would happen if I had the courage to let go of my children. How could I deny my son this amazing of an experience all in the name of love? That would simply not be right. Let him go.

So my friend, I ask you “what’s next on your list”.

Skydiving Soft Landing

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