In the wee hours of last Saturday morning I woke up and clicked the home button of my phone on the nightstand to check the time. In so doing, I not only learned that it was two something in the morning, but also that my adult daughter had been in a car accident. It happened late at night and–for whatever reason–she didn’t feel the event warranted a call, so instead she sent a text that read something to the effect of:
Mom, I’m fine but I’ve been in an accident and would have died were it not for the seatbelt. Just wanted you to know that I love you.
I’m paraphrasing, but you get the idea.
A text like that doesn’t exactly soothe a mother right back to sleep. I woke my husband and shared the news and we lay there in the dark, staring at the ceiling and talking about it. Eventually we fell quiet and the last thing I remember was listening curiously as my heart whispered silent thanks to God. When I talked to my mom the next morning, she asked whether I’d been able to return to sleep and I confirmed that eventually I had. I could tell she was surprised. If anyone does, she knows that I’m a worrier at heart. Certain things tend to lodge in my head and run on a loop through and through when instead I should be sleeping. You can see, then, why my return to sleep might be surprising.
Later–when the sun came up–I saw a picture of what was left of the car.
Now, imagine your child. Imagine her driving that car the second before impact. And then imagine how she must have looked when the airbag deployed and the crash rendered her unconscious. It has a way of striking something deep in the pit of your stomach, doesn’t it?
Mamas know the physical state of tired–the one brought on by midnight feedings and the hauling of heavy seats with baby strapped tight. We know the emotional state of exhaustion brought on by wakeful nights spent second guessing our decisions. These tireds–these exhausteds–I well know. Beyond that season of parenting, though, comes a different kind of tired. One that I’m only now learning: the state of being tired and at peace all the same.
Letting go is a leap of faith–like jumping from a mile high or racing full speed towards a breakaway wall. There comes this point where the only way is hers and you gotta let her live it. Gotta let her go. And grow.
I was probably thirty–or close– before I learned that I hadn’t learned it all. Here in the now I wonder if ever there comes a point when this life stops unfolding. I’d bet there’s not.
And also I’d bet that it’s better that way.