I wrote this piece about four years ago while on a workshop in Antarctica.
It’s for the parents out there.
Earlier today I was thinking of the beautiful, sunny, summer afternoon 17 year ago in Croton-On-Hudson, NY. My neighbor, Earl, and I were teaching my 6-year-old son, Marco, how to ride a two-wheel bike. The training wheels were set neatly on the curb next to the tools that we used to remove them. I thought for a moment about how important these training wheels were for Marco at one point in is life, but no longer.
Marco was a bit nervous as I ran with him and pushed him down the street at what I am surely seemed to him like 80 miles an hour. He wobbled for a bit, almost lost his balance, but then rode almost straight as an arrow to the end of the street. He swung around. His beaming smile looking back at us said it all: You let go and I did it!
Of course, I had tears in my eyes. They were tears of joy – shed because I was so proud of Marco, and because I knew that it was the beginning of the letting go process – a process that lasts a lifetime. It’s a process that’s filled with happiness, pure joy and a touch of sadness.
Letting go of Marco when my wife and I dropped him off at summer camp when he was 10 was never easy for any of us. The first year we all had tears in our eyes when Marco ran off to find his friends. When we picked him up two weeks later, he ran to us as fast as humanly possible. The second year drop-off was also emotional for all of us, but when we picked up Marco, his pace was a bit slower, as he slowly waved goodbye to his new friends.
Another major letting go experience happened when we sold Marco our old car when he was 16. I remember him turning around the Honda Civic Hybrid in our driveway and pulling away – waving to me to seemingly say, “I’ll be OK dad, you will be OK, too.” Or put another way, “You’re letting go, I can do it!”
Of course there were many more “letting go” moments – first band practice, first snowboarding trip, first late-night get-together at the local diner, first drive to see a girlfriend.
There will be many more to come.
For a long time I have been thinking about why letting to is so hard for me. My guess is that I cherish each and every moment and experience with Marco so very much, that when it will be my time to let go, for the last time, I wonder what I will say to Marco. Probably, something like this: We all have to let go sometime, buddy. You did it, now it’s my turn. That’s for practicing with me.
Explore the light,