I want to let go of this feeling of concern over Dee. I want to be light with her, not expect that she talk more, smile more, stand up taller, walk straighter.
I want to let go of the legacy I carry from my own parents, Dad’s constant “Dumb!” He used to say that any time I did something stupid — hammer his good nails into a piece of 2-by-4 while playing Dentist, not understand how to do Calculus, or paint the corner of my bedstand with Janet’s nail polish.
I want to let go of the kind of parent I’ve become, demanding and disappointed. I don’t know when it started, I’d like to say it is just a three-week-old trend that came up when Dee began middle school, but I worry it has been with me all my mothering life.
I want to let go of the penitente within me, her self-flagellating nature. I want to drop the whip, bury it or burn it, walk with a bounce in my step, be naturally happy and, most important, satisfied. When was the last time I was content with the person I am, the people around me? When was the last time I enjoyed going somewhere with my girls, saw it as more of a privilege than a burden?
Even at Ghost Ranch we arrived late and I had to put up a six-person tent. Dee ran off to eat, and Em had to help me struggle with the rods, making them flex so the tent would stand. They flopped every time I tried to lift them into an arc, and finally after five attempts I was sweating and in tears. I can see the look on Em’s face. Alarm. That’s what it was, a mirror to my own panic. I swore at Dee under my breath for not being there to help, and now I see her running back from the dining hall, friend in tow. I must have given her the look to kill. She told her friend to leave, and then what? I’ve said as much as I wanted to say.
It’s time to let go of all of it, my dissatisfactions and disappointments, and who exactly am I disappointed in? Is it me, for not living the life I wanted to live, as an artist and writer? For having this conventional life to begin with? For my choices? And so what of them?
They’re done, made, and now I’m thinking of that saying “You’ve made your bed, now lie in it.” Why are those sayings always so punitive?
-From Topic post, “I WANT TO LET GO OF…”
-NOTE: I wrote this during a recent writing practice with a friend at the Sunflower Market café in Albuquerque.