“Wanna walk side by side a while
Just a few blocks up 7th Ave
By the time we hit the park
You’re gonna be too old to wanna hold my hand
It feels so good I’ll have trouble letting go”
Trouble Letting Go, The Avett Brothers Songwriters: Scott Yancey Avett / Timothy Seth Avett / Robert William Crawford Jr.
I am sitting in a hospital waiting room before dawn listening to the Octonauts theme song blaring from the wall-mounted television. The bright fluorescents are almost profane at such an early hour. I close my eyes hoping when I open them the brightness will subside. It doesn’t.
My youngest son is having surgery. Countless forms and signatures, check-ins and waiting before he’s in a hospital bed, his tiny frame lost in a tangle of monitors and IV. The nurse gives him some red liquid to drink, a mild sedative to calm him before he leaves. A few minutes later, he is smiling but his bright eyes have a dull, heavy haze to them. Finally, the nurse comes and unlocks the wheels to the bed with an authoritative stamp of her foot. We hold his hands until the last moment, and he is pulled down the hall toward the operating room. With heavy hearts and worried minds, his mom and I both let go.
That is always the hardest part, the “letting go.”
And lately, it seems like parenting is various stages of letting go. When he was a baby, we only let go long enough for him to sleep. Then we were letting go at daycare, at overnight stays at grandparents. But soon it will be letting go of the bike, letting go to elementary school, sleepovers with friends., middle school, high school. Letting go to drive, work, date…More and more letting go, and to be honest, I have trouble letting go.
In the end, I realize there is some good in letting go. I understand life is sometimes like a paper boat on a river, it only moves when we let go. So even though I have trouble, I will eventually let him go to dream, to hope, to be his own man. I will be letting go so he can make his own path down the river and I will hope he doesn’t let go of the memories, the laughter, and the lessons as he does.
For now, though, he is still young enough to wanna hold my hand, so I am not letting go just yet.