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Letting Go – And Holding On

            For many parents late summer is a bittersweet time. Children are going off to college, or a post- high school year in Israel, or getting married. While excited and proud that their children have reached crucial milestones on their road to becoming independent, self-sufficient young adults, letting go is probably the hardest thing every mother and father has to do.

 

            But the ultimate act of unselfishness and love is doing just that – letting go.           Ironically, in some situations, holding on stubbornly, and not letting go  - despite adversity – is also an act of ultimate love.

 

The following two poems epitomize these very opposite acts of love and devotion.


 


Letting Go


 


You’ll never see the tears that flowed,


As your plane took off in flight.


You’ll never know the icy fear,


That made my chest so tight.


 


You’ll never sense my immense relief,


When I call and you answer your phone.


You’ll never known the emptiness I feel,


Even when I’m not alone.


 


You’ll never know how I lose track of time,


As I try to imagine your day,


Wondering how you are faring,


In your new home so far away.


 


You’ll never know how hard it is,


To let a child go off on its own.


To move aside and let it fly,


To admit your baby is grown.


 


You’ll never know – for I hid it well,


I smiled when I helped you pack,


Even joking how I gained a room,


But it was all a put-on act.


 


I devoted my life to protecting you,


Being your screen, your advocate, and your shield.


But the time has come for me to step aside,


For your own good – I must yield.


 


There is a time for letting go


Of the child you held so tight.


And the time is now, this I know,


But standing back took all my might.


 


You’ll only understand when the circle turns,


And you’re the one waving goodbye.


As your child’s plane soars above your head,


And you can drop your mask and cry.


 


 


Soul Mates


 


The old ones move slowly,


As they walk down the street,


Each leaning on the other,


As they lift their heavy feet.


With their arms linked together,


They support one another.


Husband and wife,


Their children’s father and mother.


 


Each step is carefully measured,


Their pace is very slow,


Yet their tired, lined faces


Are content and aglow.


For he is her pillar,


And she is his crutch,


Together, they are able


To endure so very much.


 


For a lifespan of years,


They stood side-by-side,


As one, they rejoiced,


As one, they cried.


Cleaving to one another,


Throughout the avalanche of years,


They stopped each other from drowning,


When overwhelmed by their tears.


 


Anxiously clinging to the other,


During the nightmares and the fears,


They proudly stood hand-in-hand,


During the triumphs and the cheers.


 


Each other’s completion,


Two parts of a whole,


They go forth united


To reach a common goal.


So much at peace with each other,


They have no need to talk,


As they hang on to one another,


And help each other to walk.


 


And as they continue their journey,


Serenely, they face the good and the grim,


For he has her,


And she has him.

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