I promise, this will be the last blog entry about graduation, moving on and letting go. Really and truly, this is it. I swear.
But the conversation keeps coming up everywhere I go, and you write what’s on your mind and in your life, so please, if anyone is out there, indulge me one more time.
Have you read David Bader’s gem of a book: Haikus for Jews? If you haven’t, you should go on Amazon and order it today (and while you’re there, if you haven’t ordered Syd Arthur, put that in your cart too)!! Anyway, here’s one of his haikus that speaks to so many of us mothers:
“Can’t you just leave it?’"
the new Jewish mother asks-
Some of us show signs that we think the cord still connects us. How many of us, at one time or another, have said to our kids, “I’m cold, put on a sweater,” or “I’m hungry, what should we eat?” as if there were no boundaries between mother and child? Their generation made sure to draw the line on where they belonged and on where we belonged…and technology, with facebook, texting and twitter, helped them in this process as we struggled to keep up and find our reading glasses to answer any text or tweet that might come our way.
Our son has called us a few times while on his trip in Israel, and my husband and I happily chatted along with him, until I did the math and realized it was 3:30 am in Jerusalem. “What are you doing up so late?” I’d ask him. He’d tell us they were out on Ben Yehuda Street, that half of his friends were still out, that I should stop worrying. It’s in my DNA I want to tell him. Just wait until you’re a parent.
The day before our daughter left for a 6-month internship in The Hague, she and her boyfriend took a bike ride. Her tires got caught on a rock and she fell off her bike resulting in big cuts on her knee. When she got home, I had her sit down and I gently cleaned the cuts and put on ointment. For a moment, she was my little girl again instead of the young woman she is, going off to work on a war tribunal. She smiled at me as I patted her knee one more time and asked her if there was anything else I could do for her. She nodded yes, and my heart thrilled to the fact that she needed me, her mother. “What can I get you?” I asked in my most maternal voice.
“A beer,” she requested.
So okay, my kids are grown up, and the umbilical cord is no more. But I realize it’s a bit easier being the one taking off for adventure. When the kids were younger, I ventured off to trek in the Himalayas; three times in Nepal and once in Bhutan. I did hiking and Torah study trips with Rabbi Alan Ullman in the Swiss Alps, the Italian Dolomites and Andalucía, Spain. Just this past winter, I went to India on a pilgrimage in the footsteps of the Buddha. When my kids were young and I would set off, I would always tell them to follow their passions. We would speak of Thoreau’s words: go confidently in the direction of your dreams; live the life you’ve imagined. And so they have. And I am thrilled for them. So now it’s my turn to wait at home for an email from them, or a text message, or a new posting on facebook. And I have to remember that being truly connected has nothing to do with an umbilical cord, and that letting go is one of the best ways to show your deep and unending love.
And a call never hurts!!
Posted by emfrankel at 12:14 PM