I see her struggling to let go of Mrs. Beachum and Cindy and her little green Kermit the Frog book bag.
She cleaned out her desk yesterday, showing me all her memories in the form of cotton balls, colored paint, stick figures, bright suns and hearts drawn and glued in all her mess and glory.
I told her that in telling first grade goodbye she was opening her heart to second grade, a new and exciting journey ahead, full of new friends and faces and adventure.
I am such a hypocrite.
For some reason, my breakdowns always happen during Sesame Street. Not only is Kat going on to 2nd grade but Lola, my baby will be leaving me for Kindergarten as well. I have loved being home with my sidekick Lola. She just gets me. We play Nurse Susie and color, go on fun errands, rock out to great music, and yet we still have our own alone time as well.
I break out my laptop and smile at her stomping cheerfully through the backyard in only panties and pink cowgirl boots. Our time is precious because I work all weekends and nights. It is just a fact that the second Kat walks in the door, I do not exist.
She worships Kat.
So holding her, singing ABCs with Elmo brought upon the thought that this was going to be over as well. It felt like someone shot my dog. I broke out in the ugly cry and she caught my tears in her baby hands, almost as if she were playing a game with them.
“Mommy, why you crying?” she asked without turning her head from Cookie Monster, her favorite character.
I sighed, sobbed, sighed, coughed, and stuttered, my nose running, my heart wanting to explode.
“Because I love you so much. Because I am proud of you going to big girl school. Because I will miss watching Sesame Street.” I then broke out into ugly cry. She put her little hands on my face and smiled.
“It will be alright mommy. Sometimes its very hard for grown ups to grow up.”
That is my Lola. The very answer that made me laugh harder than I had been crying, a miracle in itself.
On top of my girls growing up, Clyde left for Italy today. I have began dating someone else, a blog waiting impatiently, and he has been by my side through all of these changes, the good and the bad, and he is without a doubt, the best friend I have ever had.
I count on him to cheer me up, to talk me off the roof, to make me laugh, to help me problem solve, to consistently encourage and tease me like a kid sister, to give advice by asking questions, a kind and respectful game he plays so you think you came up with the answers all along. I count on him daily to remind me life is going to be just fine. It has been a humiliating public truth that I have loved him from the very beginning while he has insisted there are many forms of love.
That translates as I love you but just not the way you want.
I have swallowed that bitter pill, feeling not his love but all the pain of the men before him, and ultimately my father, who couldn’t love me the way I hoped. It has been hard letting go of the dreams that never came true. At first, I was certain he would find his way home to me. And he did. Just not the way I wanted.
So I began the process of letting the dream die. I let it go slowly and not very gracefully, but I see now that it was safe to love Clyde. Loving someone who can’t love you back means accepting failure without ever really having to try.
“Trying is Failing with Honor” I once heard, a perfect quote for my safe haven, a place never requiring me to be more, to be brave, to fall on my face, or even worse, succeed. Who would I be if I found what I really want?
And with all these truths, knowing all these important lessons remain, letting go of Clyde has been truly a gift. It has been relentless and agonizing, beautiful and transforming.
I have done what I said I could not.
I knew the day I met him that he would come around by the time he went to Italy, a date far off in never ever land.
I imagined him on the plane, realizing what we have, wanting to turn around and come back for me.
I told you I suck at releasing things.
So today he is on that plane and I promised myself I would let all of him go, that we are just as we should be, and so I have, and yet, it is bittersweet.
I told Kat that letting a dream die meant something really good is on its way.
She held her 2nd grade list to her heart, closing her eyes, dreaming big.
Lola asked if she had to wear pants to school, if she could take Kat’s Kermit book bag, if her teacher had red hair.
And I asked myself if I were okay just the way I am, if perhaps I am just where I need to be, and so I close my eyes, put my hand on my heart, telling myself that I am enough.
Just because I am.
On a last note, this is the video Clyde sent me. I couldn’t love or agree with him more.