There is, in this transition process a need to recognize opportunities to release our grip on the lives (read: Agendas) of our children. This process is filled with so much; filled with so many of the hopes and dreams we may have had for them since infancy. Some of our resistance to release around this “letting go” process may have to do with our fear of whether we’ve done the job we set out to do – to raise a competent person to make her way in the world. That’s really OUR fear to attend to. But it is important – NO, it’s vital – that we recognize that this is a necessary part of the process for each of us.
If I have a dream or hope for my child that is not yet (or may never be) realized, that is an important invitation for ME to ask if I need to release this, in order to for me to be the parent my child needs as his needs change. My holding on is one of the key stumbling blocks to relationships moving forward emotionally, relationally and spiritually.
The poem below speaks to this in ways that only a parent would really understand. I find the poet’s sensitivity to the nuances of “Naming the Baby” to be spot on to the very heart of this transition process. I’m hopeful that her imagery here helps you “see” this in a new and deeper way.
When you are dreaming of the name
you are also dreaming of who they
might be. They are invented in darkness —
under cloak of skin — and, for the better
part of a year, are a swelling
or a set of symptoms. The name
books are like a box of chocolates
and when you open them you see
how many kinds there really are.
There are names of people you
have known and disliked and names
that make the wrong sounds and names
that suggest your child will be
like everyone else’s. There are names
that turn your child into a character
in a novel and names that recall
the time when your great grandmother
was young. Naming the baby is a way
of dreaming about a creature who is
almost but not quite. It is a way of
imagining the soul of a person you
are making but have not made.
The name is the first way you see
the baby: their title, the syllables
that conjure a shape from the lantern.
“Naming the Baby” by Faith Shearin from The Empty House. © Word Press, 2008