Wednesday, March 20, 2013. Mina’s first class of Friends & Me. Two complete hours away from Mama, Mom, Mommy! Yup, sometimes that’s how she calls me, exactly in that order!
As we enter the classroom at 9:15 am, she jumps right in, exploring the different tables of fun activities: drawing, stamps, and floam as they call it (looked like flowery foam). Her body language is excitement, curious, and free. She pays no mind to the other kids, just so focused to check it all out, without missing a thing! When a bigger boy starts to cry emphatically for “Mommy,” Mina looks concerned. I worry that this would set her off, too, but I really had nothing to worry about.
“Bye-bye, Mama will come back, ok?” I say, and she repeats, “Mama come back,” with a smile.
9:40 am. Some quiet time at Starbucks with a hot vanilla latte in one hand and Joan Didion’s book in another; I’m a happy mom.
10:37 am. An hour has never felt so long, so stretched beyond reach. This time away from Mina, the world seems to crawl when any other time, it seems to sprint. A girl close to Mina’s age on a date with her Mom, giggling as she makes different animal sounds. Makes me smile and I can’t help but miss my Mina. I wonder what she is doing right now. Busy-busy Mina, I can just see her exploring every activity, every toy, observing the teachers and kids, taking mental notes of every detail. She really doesn’t miss a thing! I can picture her goofy smile, her tender eyes, her sweet gesture of “share-share/junban-ban ne.”
I feel like the best part of me is missing, or at least, far away. Yet, I know she is learning and laughing to her heart’s content. Today is my first baby step of learning to let go.
Letting go. This busy girl deserves all the space and freedom to explore this world of hers she so adores and loves, even if it means a fall or two. I need to accept and embrace the fact that I cannot protect her all the time, I cannot catch her every time. She needs to be able to do that for herself. I need to let her. I need to toughen up and not be so afraid for her. I’m not doing Mina any favors or service by being overprotective or overbearing. Note to self: So sometimes, I need to keep my distance.
Sipping my latte, I start Didion’s Blue Nights. But my mind is wandering and wondering, distracted with thoughts and pictures of Mina. I can’t concentrate…not fully present…disrespectful to Didion to say the least.
I also feel the urge to write. Record these thoughts and feelings pouring out of me. So the lure of a quiet date with my book and latte quickly wears off and I know I have to go find something to write on. The backside of those Google maps lying around in my car would be perfect. And here I am spilling it all out.
10:57 am. Perfect time to head over to pick her up. I can’t wait to feel her small hands gently tap my back when she hugs me. A tender “I love you and I knew you’d be back” hug.
I still have time to learn to let go. Not just yet but one baby step at a time.