Letting go

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I know, this is a parenting blog, but bear with me while I talk about “grown-up” stuff a little more.

We have some form of “spreading” juniper in front of our house that has been dying slowly all Spring.  I have been trying to save it in vain.  I have fertilized, I have watered diligently, I checked it for fungus, and bug infestation.  After trying everything, I realized that it was time to literally “cut” my losses and get rid of the dry, brown dead parts in order to save the juniper that was still healthy.  So yesterday, I went out, and started cutting.  I started slowly at first, not sure what to do, but realized that the dead branches ran all the way back to the root, so I started to cut whole branches off.  When I was finally done, well, maybe I’ll just post the photo…

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It’s a little sad.  But it had to be done.  And hopefully, with a little time and nurturing, these shrubs will grow back, green and healthy.  It took me a few hours to pull all the dead bush out.  While I was working, I was getting angry at myself for not doing it sooner.  You see, the problem is, I held on too long, hoping that I wouldn’t have to get rid of the plant. These greens run along the front of my yard, where all my neighbours can see.  I was so worried that they would wonder who the crappy gardener was who managed to kill these evergreens after only one year of living in the house.  I started having one of those inside-my-head conversations (that seem to happen a lot more these days), and said to myself:

“Hey, it’s because you didn’t know when to let go…”

I realize I have a problem with letting go, and that it keeps me from growing, and from being my healthiest.  I avoid the “pruning”, and watch as things slowly decompose, until I literally have to hack off a limb to get results.  So extreme…so unnecessary. So ugly (like my hedge).  I need to let go more often, and sooner.

And there are so many things to let go of…(hey English majors…I know this is an incomplete sentence, but I like it)

I need to let go of my image of the “perfect husband”.

Mine is an amazing man.  He sent me a text just last night that said “I’m thinking of you.  You’re so cute!”  We’ve been married for almost 12 years.  He really loves me, and he loves his children.  He is adventurous, trustworthy, kind and funny. And handsome.

But guess what?  He’s not perfect.  He has his struggles.

So, of course, in a totally freaky, Freudian crazy-wife way, I compare him to my Dad.  My Dad wasn’t perfect either, but he was strong in ways that my husband is not.  So I hold him up against an impossible standard. Dad 5.0.  I want him to be all the things my Dad was not – playful, tuned-in to his family, present and emotionally available, but I also want him to be everything my Dad was – organized, disciplined, on-time and handy (and extremely well-off would be nice too!)  Who wouldn’t want that husband??  Can you imagine?  But it’s impossible.  And I am a bleepety-bleep for expecting that!

Just this morning, he came home from a really difficult night shift,  and he still made time to give us all about a million kisses, ask how my night was and help me feed the kids breakfast.  I realized with a lump in the back of my throat that I have to LET GO (now) of my image of the “perfect husband” and HOLD ON to the husband I have!

I need to let go of my Mama anxiety.

I am slowly accepting that my three high-energy, big-personality boys are never going to behave perfectly.  I need to stop setting them up for failure in my mind.  At any given time, one of them is going to make a bad decision, fart at the wrong time, or use a punch instead of words.  This doesn’t mean I’m not going to correct the bad behaviour.  But I’m going to try not to catastrophize and freak out, and will try to stop saying (aka yelling) things like:

“YOU ARE TURNING OUR FAMILY INTO SOCIAL LEPERS!!!!!”

It’s just time to let go of the personal humiliation I feel every time one of my boys misbehaves.   I want to be remembered as a loving Mom, not some perfection-crazed screaming Koo-koo.

I also need to let go of the idea that “someday” I will be skinny.

Maybe I will, but likely I won’t.  I have never, not ever been “thin”.  I have been a healthy person my whole life, but I have never been thin.  I have been an athlete, I have been super fit, but no, never thin.

The other day, a very lovely friend of mine was listening to me complain about how hard it is to lose weight at 40, and she looked at me and said, “but are you healthy?” to which I replied “yes, I walk every day, I eat healthy food, I get good sleeps, live pretty clean (give or take a few gin & tonics) and I laugh lots”.  She said,

“maybe you are the size that you are supposed to be…you should just love yourself, and enjoy your good health”…huh. True that, sister!

I may be thin someday, or I may not be.  But why not let go of the fixation, and just appreciate the healthy, functioning body I was given?  Seriously. (ps…Abercrombie & Fitch sucks…I need to rant:  Do you know how badly I want to go into an A & F store, find the smallest pink sweatshirt I can find, put it on my size large body (with all my glory bursting forth), climb up on one of the display boxes in the store and start dancing my craziest? AHHH they would freak out…40-year-old chubby Mom wears Abercrombie & Fitch!  Absurd! Preposterous! Gross!  But I probably should just let that go too…Someone should do that though.)

I digress…

The longer we hold on to that “thing” that is destroying us, ruining our perspective, messing up our relationships, or causing conflict in our families, the bigger the mess is going to be.

So I say, cut out the dried-out, rotting, old “junk” before it’s too late.

Just let it go…(man).

I’ve got my pruners ready, and I’m starting at the roots this time!

Let it go and check out Silly Mama’s favourite free-spirited baby and toddler clothing at www.sillysouls.com

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