Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Letting Go

While the folks here at home slid on ice-covered roads and shivered with single-digit lows, Abby and I were in Lincoln and Omaha surrounding ourselves with the soft sounds of taffeta, chiffon and satin which glowed in shades of white and ivory. Yes, we were shopping for a bridal gown. A perfect bridal gown. THE bridal gown.

There are an amazing number of bridal shops in business these days and there are literally hundreds of different styles and fabrics.  There are gowns in satin, chiffon, silk, or taffeta.  Gowns with huge puffy skirts, gowns with flowing skirts and gowns to make you look like a mermaid. There are gowns that lace up or button or zip.   Some are covered in beads or lace and some have absolutely none. There are gowns so heavy you'd need a weight-training program to wear them and gowns light and flowy.

The plan was to visit bridal shops on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.   Shopping for the dress you will wear on your perfect day brings forth thoughts of romance, feelings of love, and excitement about the future which will soon be your present. That's what the bridal magazines would have you believe anyway. I think we both thought it would be a relaxing, bonding, laughter-filled process broken up with lunch, snacks, and visiting, culminating in the discovery of the perfect gown. It was bonding, there was laughter and we did have lunch and snacks.  What the bridal magazines don't tell you though, is that in reality, bridal gown shopping is hard work.

It was two days of trying on anywhere between 30 to 40 gowns. I honestly lost track.  Over and over, out of the dressing room she would come, critically standing in front of the mirror to answer the all-important question "is THIS the one?" I knew Abby was wearing out near the end of day one, in store number three, when, as we were trying to decide which gowns she wanted to try on, she looked at me with that wiped out look in her eyes and said "would you please push the dresses along the rack for me."  Before we'd started shopping on Friday morning I didn’t believe it would be possible that she wouldn’t find a dress before Sunday.  Saturday morning when we were in our fourth dress shop and the perfect dress was yet to be found, even though I wasn’t sure how much more dress shopping either of our bodies could survive, more dress shopping on Sunday seemed a real possibility.

And then, at approximately 10:43 a.m., on Saturday morning, in a dress shop in Omaha, just as I was thinking to myself, “I guess I’m tougher than I thought…seeing her in wedding gowns hasn’t made me feel like crying”, out she walked in THE ONE.  She looked gorgeous. She glowed. There were “ahhhhhhhhhhs” from other brides-to-be and their mothers. And it turns out I’m not so tough. There was hugging and some tears.

I know I won’t be tough when the move to Ecuador comes. That’s when this letting go process that I both look forward to and dread will become achingly real. I know over the next few months there will be lots of
hugging and lots of tears. My heart will be bursting with joy for Abby and breaking into pieces all at the same time. I survived the letting go process with Leslie but practice does not make it any easier. I am not very good at this letting go thing. It should be easier to let go when your daughters have grown into loving, caring, intelligent, independent and open-minded women. It should be easier when they are both braver than I have ever been and are willing to break out of their comfort zone to experience new things and explore new ideas. It should be easier when they have chosen partners that I am happy and proud to call my son; men who I trust to care for my most precious possession. It should be easier because I have loved watching them evolve into successful women who have begun to build their own wonderful lives. It should be easy because I wouldn’t want it any other way. But it wasn't easy to let Leslie go and it's not any easier now as the time comes for me to finally let Abby go. One moment I think how exciting it will be for her to live in Ecuador with the man she loves, to experience another culture, to become fluent in Spanish, to find all those awesome bugs, to follow through and actually do something alot of us would be afraid to do.  And the next moment I want to grab onto her with both arms, dig my heels in and scream “don’t go!” And if I do scream out "don't go!" as she's heading to the plane, I know she will smile at me and tell me she loves me and not to worry. 

It will be okay.◦


JorgeV. said...

I know this letting go process will be tough for you, but I just want to tell you something and I want that you know something... I am the person who loves Abby more than anything and I will care her always. Do not feel worry about Abby's new life in Ecuador,not matter where we are, I will be close to her.

JorgeV. said...

I love you Cathy! you are an amazing Mom.

Art Elser said...

Ah, yes! The letting go of a child. My Kathy has said that you know, from the time you first hold your child, that your life with that child is a preparation to let her go. But I know that having a wonderful relationship with an adult child is your gift for letting go. And you're not losing a daughter - she'll always be your Abby - you're gaining a son. And a great excuse to visit Ecuador.

Cathy said...

Oh....Jorge....your comments make me want to cry again---in a good way. Thank you for understanding the feelings of a crazy mom.

Leslie said...

Ah, thanks mom. I'm in denial about Abby leaving. If I pretend it's not happening, it doesn't happen right? :)
Although Jorge's comment does proven that she made the right choice in fiance's!!

abby rose said...

I don't know what to say. I think if I wasn't in my office still, the tears would start flowing. It is hard for me also, to let go, to leave, to know that I will be away from you and to realize how difficult it will be. But while Leslie and I are both strong, independent women, we wouldn't be if it weren't for you and your ability to raise us that way. I love you, don't worry, it will be okay.

Corner Gardener Sue said...

Hi Cathy,
I started reading your blog awhile ago, but for some reason forgot to keep up. I have enjoyed doing some catching up.

I had to laugh about Dean and his leaf dealy. Larry has one, too.

Congratulations to Abby on her engagement. When is the wedding? I wasn't in tears until I read your other comments here.

Take Care, Sue