The Art of Letting Go

Written by Emily

Today my sweet girl got tubes in her ears. We’ve been through this before with Noey. I know it’s minor surgery. I was fine.

She was fine.


I gave her the syringe of syrupy sweet forgetful serum and watched it fill her up until her eyelids were heavy.


She was adorable.


I kissed her little red head as she swayed.


And then they wheeled her away from me.

I watched her little metal crib until it was out of sight. The doctor’s words ringing in my ears: “I’ll bring her back to you in no time.”

I had to trust him.

I had to let the nurse with the gravely voice and deep wrinkles tickle her toes because I couldn’t. I had to believe that the anesthesiologist who called her “Sylvia” would do what she had practiced again and again. I had to wait while the man in sea foam scrubs who spoke French in my babe’s ear did what was now like breathing for him: natural, rote, easy.

I let go. I had to.

The doctor delivered on his promise.

When she came back to me, I wanted to hold her in my arms and smell her hair and study the bridge of her nose and the length of her lashes. I wanted to rest and memorize the weight of her tiny body against my chest. She let me…for a minute. And then she wiggled away.

It’s the way it has to be. All of it.

From the moment I knew my little ones were there, from the moment they awakened a love that was inside me all along hibernating, laying dormant, waiting for each of them to call for it. From that moment on, I hold onto them with every fiber of myself while I practice letting go, while I strengthen my heart against the pain or the uncertainty or the fear of letting go.



I try to remember the feel of their fingers wrapped around mine.


I chase them with arms at the ready to catch their teetering bodies.


I “look, Mommy. Look!”


Going to school.

I can see their bodies outlined by the door frame like a picture of good-bye.

Falling into the arms of a different kind of love.

And on and on and on…


Until my heart is a bit calloused like musicians’ fingertips, hardened by hours of practice loosening my grip instead of tightening it. Until against all odds, I have the strength to smile as they go…


and mean it.

22 comments for “The Art of Letting Go

  1. May 23, 2013 at 8:29 am

    Simply from the heart and written with such depth of feeling that only a mother could write. Beautiful and made me smile about the innocents of childhood it is so precious.

    • May 23, 2013 at 8:35 am

      Oh! Thank you! I so appreciate your comment!

  2. Michelle
    May 23, 2013 at 8:50 am

    Beautiful! Made me cry!

  3. May 23, 2013 at 9:00 am

    Been through many “procedures” with both my little guys, it’s never as easy on us as it is the kids. Your little red head is too cute.

    • May 23, 2013 at 9:14 am

      Don’t I know it. They bounce back so quickly…me, not always. I hope your little one’s procedures are helping and that you are all bouncing back quickly! As always, thank you for reading and commenting.

      And thanks for the compliment on Sylvie! I am totally enamored by her!

  4. Lisa
    May 23, 2013 at 10:25 am

    I still feel this way every day…thanks for the sniffle ❤

    • May 23, 2013 at 10:34 am

      It is everyday isn’t it? *sigh* Thank you for commenting, Lisa! Really.

  5. Ashley Fanning
    May 23, 2013 at 11:36 am

    I don’t know who but your writing is beautiful…..It made me tear up….I also have little ones that went thru procedures…never easy. Thank you and keep up the great life stories……

    • May 23, 2013 at 12:43 pm

      Thank you for reading and commenting! I so appreciate it!

  6. May 23, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    This is so very beautiful. Looking forward to sharing it. 🙂

    • May 23, 2013 at 12:42 pm

      Thank you so much! Parenting is the most wonderful, trying, heartbreaking thing I’ve ever done! Thank you for your kind words! And I appreciate you sharing!

  7. May 23, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    Absolutely beautiful writing! With adult children as well as an 18-month-old, I know this practice – you illustrated it perfectly!

  8. May 23, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    My husband is working towards becoming a pediatric “something” he hasn’t decided what. When he comes home and talks about what he does during the day, I can never see things from his perspective. Even though we don’t have children of our own I always take the role of the parent, how heart breaking it would feel to watch your child take forgetful serum and then have to wait. I would like you to know that my husband adores the children he works with, they are the light in his day, and he treats them with the utmost care. The physicians that he has the greatest respect for are the ones who are able to cultivate relationships with their small patients. Your daughter was in good hands.

    That being said, I realize knowing that doesn’t make it any easier.

    • May 23, 2013 at 8:46 pm

      How nice of you to share that! Yes. My daughter was in very capable hands. I wouldn’t have let her go if I didn’t believe that whole-heartedly. The doctor and nurses make all the difference! Your husband is doing important work! Thank you for sharing!

  9. May 24, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    From HV. Lovely post. As a mom even the most minor surgeries are major. It’s hard handing our babies off to others and trusting them to not make mistakes. Glad your little one made it through OK.

  10. May 26, 2013 at 11:08 am

    So beautiful…

  11. Kathleen Gallo
    May 26, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    Hmm, that practice of letting go – we do it over & over & over again, but you know what, no matter how old our precious “children” get, we miss those precious, tender times when we could hug & love them & hold them close when they were little and we were so very important and special to them – it NEVER gets easier! We watch them go through each stage of their letting go of their own children, and we remember again & again being in the same place, and our hearts ache for them (and for ourselves (>:)

    • May 27, 2013 at 1:24 am

      And now I’m crying again! Thank you for your thoughtful comment. Thank you!

  12. May 29, 2013 at 6:41 am

    So true. All of it. Lil’ man was sick in the middle of the night, so I’m extra teary. Thanks a lot! 😉

  13. June 5, 2013 at 11:10 am

    Lovely! And so true. As my oldest approaches his 10th birthday, I wonder how I will ever let him go into the real world in 8 years after high school. But let him go I must. Crazy. Found you on the Honest Mom linkup.

    • June 5, 2013 at 4:03 pm

      It pulls at our hearts, doesn’t it? But you are so right, we have to loosen our grip as hard as it is. I’ll probably never sleep again when the kids learn to drive. I get the shakes just thinking about it! Thank you so much for reading and commenting! Thank you!

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