One of the most surprisingly difficult things about motherhood for me has been the letting go.
(In that, most of the time, I am realizing that I don’t want to.)
For a long time, I have collected various leaves and pine cones and acorns that Captain Bravo has picked up for me on his travels. (I wrote about these gifts back in the spring.) Sometimes he will gather them on our walks together, sometimes he will bring them home for me when he goes out with someone else.
It is as if he sees a pine cone and thinks of me; it is sweet and special and I always feel touched.
For a long time now, I have kept this collection of treasures on our fireplace – and we would add a leaf here and there if he saw one that caught his eye.
This past weekend, I was cleaning and preparing to put up some decorations when I moved the shallow bowl. It was overflowing with oak and maple leaves and small brown pine cones and acorns – even a few pebbles. I placed it down and considered what to do with it.
The logical part of me knew that I had probably kept it too long. It was a bowl of dried leaves, for crying out loud! I could have thanked and complimented and quietly shuffled them into the compost bin. Captain Bravo might never have noticed.
But I didn’t do that.
I collected and displayed and with each added item, my sentimentality grew.
(This is probably how hoarding happens, isn’t it?)
I knew it was time to listen to my inner Obi-Wan and Let Go. We took a photo of the collector with the collection before the leaves hit the compost.
And Captain Bravo? Was totally fine with me getting rid of these gifts – he smiled and said, “That’s OK.” Perhaps the promise of colourful decorations replacing the collection had something to do with it, but I think probably not.
He wasn’t attached anymore – I was. He had let go of it the moment he had given it to me. I was the one that had put value on it and cherished it. I was the one the feared that I would miss them. After all, maybe next spring Bravo will no longer think to bring me treasures. Will I miss them? Will I miss the see -an-acorn-think-of-mommy-ness that is such an endearing part of being 4 years old? Would I feel empty without it?
It let it go. Just as I have struggled to let go of art projects and hundreds of paper scribbles over the past years. I let go because you have to let go of somethings or else there would be no room for the new. In keeping everything, and holding it close, I would be closing myself off to new beauties just appearing on the horizon.
And that night, as we sat among the twinkling lights and the newly-hung stockings, I did think of the acorns and the leaves and the pine cones. I thought of the boy that gave them to me and noticed his smiles as he placed ornaments and sipped hot chocolate with mini marshmallows.
In remembering I realized that my heart wasn’t empty. It is so very full.
Do you have trouble letting go of special treasures?