A solo trip down the road with full control of the radio became an “A-ha!” moment for this mom. Inspiration sneaks in at the most unsuspecting instants. The car can be the perfect place to run dialogue with myself or any passengers who are held captive within my four doors. I have learned to take full advantage of unadulterated time on the road, and on this day the passenger seat was empty except for a handful of CDs. My music collection is best described as eclectic. Eclectic is putting it nicely, as I debated between the Grease soundtrack and an old school rap CD. I settled on a classic rock CD instead. Something about being in the car solo and cruising down the road makes me feel like a 16-year-old again. So, I crank my music and sing like my windows are one-way mirrors. I skipped to .38 Special, and turned it up a bit more. . .
“Just hold on loosely
But don’t let go
If you cling too tightly
You’re gonna lose control”
I sang the chorus like it was written for me; then I realized maybe it was. “Hold On Loosely” is a love song, but isn’t parenthood a love story? Every single day I battle with how tightly to hold on to my daughters. Their freedom weakens my grip, and the power struggle is real. I am trying to raise well-adjusted and wise young women, but sometimes the micro-managing mom in me rears her ugly head and tries to wave her magic mommy wand to fix all like a possessed conductor in the orchestra of life. Well-adjusted doesn’t come without hard lessons and war wounds. I was clinging too tightly.
“Your baby needs someone to believe in
And a whole lot of space to breathe in
It’s so damn easy
When your feelings are such
To overprotect her
To love her too much”
It is possible to love too much, and we all need enough space to live, learn and grow. Life lessons by .38 Special. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. The lyrics said what I already knew, but agonized over allowing. I kept driving and switched CD’s, but I still was applying rock lyrics to my life.
After 18 years of marriage, we are facing another year-long deployment. Deployments suck at any age or stage of marriage. We are different people with every goodbye, and we are again changed when we run across the room and throw our arms around the one we waited for. The control of daily interaction, and knowing you can pick up the phone and call is gone. You have to wait for them to call. No more, “Hey, how’s your day?” or “Grab bread and milk, please.” There will be calls, emails, texts, letters and FaceTime, but I will hope and pray I don’t miss the phone ringing. I’ll have to hold on loosely and not let go.
During one of John’s earlier deployments, I was struggling with fully enjoying life without guilt while he was down range. I was planning a girl’s trip to Las Vegas and started to get cold feet. How could I go eat, drink and be very merry while my husband was deployed? During our weekly catch up session I started crying. I told John I couldn’t go to Vegas, and he told me I could and would. I will never forget his words, “You are going. You deserve it, and nothing you can do there will change what happens over here.” He was right. I needed to go, and I did.
Loosening my grip did not lessen my love, and it never will.