As we lean ever further into this idea of “letting go” of our agendas for our daughters and sons, there is a point at which we can find the core of our hope. I don’t believe we can parent without having some basic hopes for our children: hope that she will be healthy, hope that he will be successful, hope that she will live a meaningful and productive life, and our list of hopes can go on and on.
The poem below presents the same question in a different form; an opportunity to see and experience our daughters and sons differently. When we encounter the invitation to do the work of letting go of OUR agendas – and it is OUR work – we may find that the struggle includes the question: “How do I hold on to my hope while letting go of my agenda?” After all, many of these hope date back longer than we’ve actually been parenting. I think this is a great question that can reveal more and more to about the deep feelings we have connected to our relationship.
What do you do with your hopes for your daughter/son when you recognize that you’re being asked, by your life and their life, to release your grip on how YOU want this to be, or how YOU believe this is supposed to work out?
I’d be curious to know what this is like for you. What are you bumping into in this process?
In the spelling bee my daughter wore a good
brown dress and kept her hands folded.
There were twelve children speaking
into a microphone that was taller than
they were. Each time it was her turn
I could barely look. It wasn’t that I wanted
her to win but I hoped she would be
happy with herself. The words were too hard
for me; I would have missed chemical,
thermos, and dessert. Each time she spelled
one correctly my heart became a bird.
She once fluttered so restlessly beneath
my skin and, on the morning of her arrival,
her little red hands held nothing.
Her life since has been a surprise: she can
sew; she can draw; she can read. She hates
raisins but loves science. All the parents
must feel this, watching from the cheap
folding chairs. Somewhere inside them
love took shape and now
it stands at the microphone, spelling.
“Spelling Bee” by Faith Shearin from Moving the Piano. © Stephen F. Austin State University Press, 2011.