I'm down in San Francisco for a close friend's wedding. We were able to stay in our friends' apartment in the city and we've taken over their kitchen, prepping food for the reception.
We've left K with the grandparents at home because as much as we'd love to have him be cute in front of people, we would not enjoy having him melt down in front of those same people. Soon enough, he'll be able to enjoy the concept of big parties, but not yet.
So we have some time and space to think about this time and this transition for our friends.
Traditionally (like, *really* traditionally), the father would "give away" the bride to the groom. I haven't seen a lot of weddings lately where that still happens. But here's the thing: I feel like I am "giving away" my friend to her fiance. Not that I possessed her at all, but I guess I had the thought that, yeah, my friend has a new best friend and while I can remain close to her, I'm no longer a face she sees regularly and we don't talk on the phone that much anymore.
And this wedding means that a ceremony is taking place where two people are agreeing to transition into being the other person's person. And in effect, I'm also agreeing to it too. Not that I have a choice, but I'm witnessing and letting go of my friend in a way.
I wrote a toast for the couple and what came out was that I now understood that my errand-running days were now over with my friend. They'd been over effectively since she moved away (10 years ago!), but now it's official. We probably wouldn't be running errands together again. I know it's a weird thing to think about letting go of, but that was a thing we used to love doing together.
And it's not like our friendship is over, but it reminds me how letting go is a constant process for me (well, for everyone...) and it doesn't need to be big stuff like death or divorce. It can be small too. Like when your child grows out of a shirt that he/she has worn for a while and is beloved...you have a letting go process there too.
This is how we can make peace with this though. If we let go with claw marks then it's always gonna feel like things are being ripped away. But if we are looking for the smaller letting go moments, and we realize that it doesn't have to be devastating, then we can start to be okay with the process in general. Not that we won't be sad or even broken up about something, but it won't cause severe damage, if we aren't shocked by the natural experience of loss and letting go.
This relates to parenting because I'm experiencing the letting go almost daily now. I don't think I would've thought that would be the case, but paying attention does that. When K mispronounces a word, I now think immediately not just how cute it is, but how one day, he'll eventually say the word "correctly" and I will miss the mispronunciation. So I soak up that moment, that word, that way his mouth forms to utter that sound because, like blowing a dandelion puff, pretty soon that moment will be gone forever. The beauty is in the breathe...the blowing away of the seeds...and that is always temporary...
I digress. But not by much. Getting used to letting go is key for me. Sure, I might cry at the various educational transitions, and milestones, but maybe I won't as much, because it won't be shocking or it won't be foreign. I'll have had some practice. And maybe the practice of letting go with my child, will allow me to be less devastated when I need to let go of things unrelated to my kid.
I'm aiming that weddings, moves, transitions in friendships, etc. will be more graceful experiences because I'll have more practice.