Gavin started school this week, taking his first steps toward independence. And his Mommy tasted her first bittersweet moments of “letting go”.. that dynamic, painful process all mothers struggle with. For a lifetime.
It begins at birth. The infant inches his way through the birth canal to finally claim his hard won independence and take his rightful place in the world.
To learn and to grow.
Her tears fell silently driving back home that morning..alone. It felt like someone had taken a scalpel and excised a tiny portion of her heart, leaving an empty hole.
How would he do.. would he miss her? Would he be frightened, confused? Would he
be timid, try to hide? Would he revert to stimming to comfort himself, retreating into his own internal and familiar place of safety?
Worse yet, would he think she had dropped him off, abandoned him, never to return?
Sending a neurotypical child off to school the first day is difficult enough. With an ASD child this trepidation is magnified a thousand fold.
The pain is visceral. How now to comfort herself? And what to do with the aching hole in her heart?
Where there is a void, it begs to be filled. She would soon discover her fears would be replaced with bursting pride and joy as she beheld her small boy’s visible excitement, eyes shining with a sense of personal satisfaction in his achievements.
At the end of the school day she would read the sheer delight and wonder in that bright young face…
And her heart would sing once more.
She, too, learned something this day. She understood that her momentary pain had been nothing less than the catalyst which would propel her son toward a new and inviting world of awe and learning. This pain was every bit as necessary as the birth pangs. Pain is something that she as a mother will learn to accept and endure so that her child might blossom and flourish as he makes his way through this world.
The pain is only temporary while the reward is great….. and lasting.
Her child has entered school. He is eager to learn new things.
Let the learning begin!
As for the mother learning to “let go”.. this too, is a lifelong process. She however, will master this only as she draws her dying breath. Whispering softly her last “I love you”, only then will she open her hand and gently release her child. Not a moment sooner….. her final lesson. The art of letting go.