Thursday, January 20, 2011

LETTING GO OF DOORKNOBS AS THE UNIVERSE UNFOLDS

I have always found great wisdom within a piece of writing by Max Ehrmann, entitled, "Desiderata".  Today though, one passage seems particularly poignant.
"And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy."
Tomorrow my universe will unfold a little more as I take my youngest daughter, accompanied by her older sister, to view one of the colleges that she is considering attending in the fall.  I have made these visits before, and, with each of them, I have recognized that I am edging closer to one of life's new beginnings.  I understand that I must close the door on one chapter in life, in order to open the door to the next...but this time, I find myself having a little trouble letting go of the doorknob. 
My oldest daughter moved out recently, and the twins will soon be leaving too, at month's end. Then, in the fall, I will hear Olivia's footsteps, fading in the distance, as she takes those last final steps towards life as an adult; a life in which my role will be significantly smaller.  It is all our efforts as parents coming to fruition, yet I find myself conflicted by the universe unfolding as it should.
I remember quite vividly, not so many years ago, walking along a residential street in Port Sanilac, and gazing at the houses that rested along the shore of Lake Huron. I was accompanied by one of my girls, still young enough to enjoy the imaginings of childhood, as she happened upon a house that she especially admired. 
"One day I am going to marry a rich man, and he is going to buy me that house." 
She said, as she daydreamed.
I gasped in horror and then said. "No, he will not.  You will go to college first, get a great education, and then, become a success at your chosen career.  When you have finished you will buy that house for yourself."
"Why?' she inquired.
"Because I want you to grow up to be an independent woman."  I replied. "You need only to think about your own family to know how important that is.  Your grandfather died when your grandma was only 29 years old, and she was left to raise four children, by herself.  It was hard.  I never want you to know those struggles.   And what about your own father?  He was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis when he was only 38.  He has persevered because he has a very strong spirit, but I want you to understand that life will test you; no one is exempt. The only insurance that you have is yourself.  Never depend on anyone else for your happiness or security, or you will have a life of worries. Depend on yourself to get that house.  Go to college, get a great job and be independent...you don't need to marry a rich man to do that."
She mulled my words over for a minute, and then looked up at me.
"Well," she replied. "What if I fall in love with a rich guy, though?  After I am a success and buy myself that house, THEN can I marry him?"
"Of course, you can." I said, without skipping a beat. "I am raising you to be independent, not stupid."

So I find myself now, on the cusp of own new independence.  Once again, I will have time for myself, and a life full of my own possibilities.  I am lucky as I am still in love with the man that I married so many years ago; the man that I raised those independent daughters with.  I know we will be free to enjoy each other’s company more, and to do some of things that we were unable to do in years past.  And yet, I find myself glancing back with great frequency at that door I am about to close, for behind it lies the years filled with the sounds of my daughters' laughter, and the memories of those gentle hugs that only tiny arms can give.  I must remember Max Ehrmann at those times, and the wisdom of his words...it is still a beautiful world, so I will be cheerful; I will strive to be happy.  I will strive to be happy for my daughters, and, maybe equally important, I will strive to be happy for myself.  Blessings ~ Amycita~

7 comments:

  1. You have such a way with words, Amy, and you deserve to be so proud of your daughters and the way you have raised them!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Being the bitter old man that I am, this brought a tear to my eye (just a small one)....

    Your are such a talented writer, this should be YOUR career!

    ReplyDelete
  3. well you should like it gina...since you are one of the reasons that i can't let go of the doorknob! xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  4. They grow up fast and the bad part is you can't get it back.
    Warner

    ReplyDelete
  5. So very well said.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your kind words, Ken. I suspect you have felt that same ache in your own heart. <3

      Delete