“Let go or be dragged.” – Zen Proverb
My fellow horse-back riding friends will understand this completely. That moment when your horse spooks, you fall off, and you’re still holding the reins. You have two choices. You either let go of the reins and let the horse keep running or you hold on and try to stop it. And if you hold on, you are going to be dragged. Because that horse isn’t stopping.
Acceptance is a process. When Mia was just a tiny baby, I thought about that other baby a lot. The one I was “supposed” to have. I thought about what she would have looked like, what milestones she would have been achieving, when she would have said “mommy” for the first time. She was sort of this ghost who followed me around all day, reminding me of what it all was supposed to be like. I let myself be dragged for a good long while, holding on to something that was just never going to be.
I don’t think I could pinpoint the moment when I finally let her go. I know she pops up every now and again. When I have to go to IEP meetings or when I notice the delays when she’s with children her age. But instead of spending the rest of the day upset about what was “supposed” to be, I just wave her off. I have Mia, and she is exactly who I am supposed to have in my life. And I am exactly who she is supposed to have in hers. It’s just as it should be.
But damn is it hard to let go of what was supposed to be. I remember those early days well. I put on a brave face, but I was scared, terrified, petrified. The only thing I wanted was for us to all be “normal.” I wanted it so much that I was white-knuckling those reins as if I could do something about it. But I couldn’t.
And isn’t that how it is in so many areas of our lives? I feel like I’m white-knuckling the reins of everything lately. I’m holding on to some kind of fantasy of perfect or ideal or just normal. And I’ve said it before. Life is never going to be “normal” so why can’t I just let it go?
Because being out of control is terrifying and I want to hold on to what I think it should be and control the outcome of everything. But I really don’t want to be dragged anymore. Eventually, I’ll lose my grip anyways and be in the same spot, only bloodier.
For me, Mia is the perfect example of how everything turns out “all right” in the end. I put “all right” in quotes because is it perfect? No. Is it hard? Yes. Are there days when I think I just can’t do this? Yes. But 99 percent of the time, all I can think about is how lucky I am and how awesome she is and how I am so deeply in love with this little girl that I can barely stand it. While I was letting myself be dragged three years ago, I would have never expected that if I had just let go and accepted my reality, I would be in this place right now.
“Let go or be dragged.”
Time to start letting go of the things I can’t control. It will all be “all right,” whatever that means.