Set it Free

  "Mom, there is an old saying that if you love something, set it free," said Linus. He paused "Why haven't you set us free?"

My darling child, how can I explain to you how free you are? How from the moment I gave birth to you, and saw your blue color, your jiggly, toneless limbs, and watched in terror as the midwife rubbed you and puffed gently into your mouth until we heard a small mew, like a tiny kitten that from that very moment I was setting you free. Every choice I make has your freedom in mind, from restricting your oreo intake to letting you ride your scooter around the block.

And this year...I made the very big choice to let you go on a big yellow bus and be away from me for six hours a day! Your life is more structured now than it used to be, but even that has given you freedom. I wanted homeschooling to be a whirlwind of activity as you flitted from shoveling dirt to building a wagon to reading wonderful literature, but it was more often you throwing one hundred cheese stick wrappers on the floor as you played Lego Indiana Jones on the X-box while I nursed your little brother, desperately wanting to be with you, but unable to be.

You have the freedom now to live your life within a framework. Your mind is a box of paints, full of color. And now you have a slightly smaller canvas to paint on, but because you know you can't paint the walls or the dishes or the outside of the house, suddenly your painting has improved. I can feel your serenity and happiness now. You have something you didn't have before. What I couldn't give you at home, with three other children, I managed to give you by giving up my fear and letting you go.

It's something you won't understand right now. For you freedom is not having to ask to play outside, eating as many oreos as your heart desires, and not eating spinach. But for me it's knowing that you are merely on loan to me. That as much as I want to hold you to me, forever, I have no idea how long your time on this earth is, and it is my job to gently, slowly open my arms and let you float away into the sea of unknown.

What you call not setting you free, I call giving you a life preserver. As much as you want to let go of it, we have a few more swimming lessons before you can navigate these waters alone. But rest assured, all too soon you'll be swimming, and meeting all those other fish in the sea.