Letting Go of an Old Love

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By Melissa Ford

Coach - Personal & Business

My four-year-old sits on my lap. It’s morning time, the perfect time to cuddle. Still sporting his pajamas, he leans in closer to me feeling snuggly and warm. I fold him in my arms loving everything about him: the fresh scent of his hair, the softness of his cheek on mine, the way he clutches his blanket rubbing it under his nose to comfort himself. Ah, nirvana! The potency of such a profound love, even the ammonia smell wafting from his wet diaper adds to his cuteness, his vulnerability. For this brief period in time, life is beautiful and perfect.

Getting on with the day will break this moment: changing diapers, cooking breakfast, doing laundry, grocery shopping, feeding, keeping children safe. Always doing. No matter how hard I try to hang onto these moments, they slip away. Time moves on, my child grows restless, chores have to get done, the day needs to be lived.

My mood shifts gears as I lift my son off my lap and set him down on the floor. Musing, I turn my mind to his wet diaper. Has he been wearing his underwear to preschool? For some reason, I’m not certain. Transitioning from diaper to underwear has become such a power struggle between us. I make a mental note to remind him about the new rule - No diapers in preschool!

Absorbed in thought, I move toward the kitchen not quite able to shake this vague unease. It’s quite possible he doesn’t even own underwear! Did I forget to buy him some? Digging down deep for an answer to this burning question, I come up empty-handed. 

Drifting in and out of thoughts about undergarments, as only a mother would do, I start to come to… emerging from the ether, realizing… I’ve been dreaming. Night has transformed into day, yet I remain floating, suspended between two worlds. For one precious moment, my mind has made real an experience, long ago, when I loved a child with such depth and emotion, that very same child who is a young man today.

Fully awake to my life without children, that old empty-nest, I relax in bed with a slight smile on my face, relishing the intensity of my love and the humor in creating such a strange dream. Alone in the quiet of this morning, without the need to care for anyone, sadness creeps in. I’m sad for the loss of a love that cannot be expressed the way it used to — through always doing. This old “caring for” love seems stale, ineffectual, empty.

I breathe deeply, clearing my mind. Time to let go of an old love so I can embrace a new one — a love that comes from "caring about" my son; a kind, loving, intelligent man who let go of his need to be diapered, cuddled and cared for a long time ago.

Email: melissa@empoweredcoachingsolutions.com

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Reader Comments

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Susan Lucci from River Forest  

Posted: January 26th, 2012 8:28 AM

WOW! Melissa, you are not only an effective parenting coach but a provocative writer, too. This one really tugs at my heartstrings - so visual, so real. Thanks for describing the moment so aptly and then gently reminding me to move on to the next phase....and relish it all the same. Wonderful stuff!

Melissa from OakPark.com/Empowered Parent Blog  

Posted: April 11th, 2011 5:06 PM

Becky, you are giving yourself and your teen the best gift of all - appreciation. As your son grows into adulthood - what he brings into your life gets even better.


Posted: April 9th, 2011 7:55 PM

I just read this in the Apr 6 WJ. Love it!! Have the rough high school years ahead of me but have already started appreciating the "life" my teen brings to our house and how empty it will be when he's gone.

Christina from OakPark.com/Shopping/Blogs  

Posted: March 5th, 2011 9:36 AM

Melissa, I truly enjoy your blogs posts. Look forward to future posts!

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