December 5 – Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why? (Author: Alice Bradley)
Readers of this blog might think I’d answer “Jack” to this question, but they’d be mistaken. I’ve come a long way in grieving, but I’m nowhere close to letting him go, not even a tiny bit. Nope. The answer here is “my expectations for W.” — my older son. Our relationship has definitely had its trials this year, and I had to make a decision to set minimum boundaries but to otherwise let go.
By this I don’t mean that I’ve stopped being a mother to him. (Though I do suppose there are people who believe that, because he doesn’t live with me, I’ve abandoned him. They are welcome to believe that. I cannot change minds.) But I have tried to realize that, as a 13-year-old boy, W.’s last priority is hanging out with me, or calling me, or telling me what’s going on. Whatever sorts of things he was able to give to our relationship when he was nine or ten or twelve just aren’t there anymore. Whether it’s starting high school or going through puberty or just plain resentment (which is on his shoulders, not mine), forcing a relationship with him wasn’t working.
So I let go of my expectations. Or at least I made a decision to let go. It’s not always as easy in practice. I will say that my level of satisfaction with the relationship with W. is directly in relation to my ability to let go and accept things as they are. I do what I can, change what is in my ability to do so, and try to make amends for past mistakes. Beyond that, there is nothing else. I cannot control W.’s behavior, emotions, words, or thoughts. I will continue to be a mother to him, and to do the best I can. Everything else? Well, that’s what I let go of this year.