We got home and one of Z’s ribbons was on the floor, half unraveled and tangled in the robot vacuum cleaner.
“Put it in the trash, Z,” I said, trying to simultaneously change out of work clothes and start dinner.
“But I want to keep it,” she whined, dangerously close to tantrum territory.
“Z,” I snapped, “it’s trash. Throw. It. Away.”
“Can we take a picture?” she asked. “So we can keep it.”
“It’s just a ribbon,” I said. “Let it go, baby.”
She came into my room, ribbon clutched into her hand and tears streaming down her face. “Please mommy?”
I’m trying to teach her how to let go. She desperately wants to hold onto every drawing, every treasure she finds. There is not enough room in our small house for this. Sometimes I make her recycle her drawings herself. Mostly I sweep up the artwork and the dried play doh scraps when she leaves each week.
I went to a workshop a few weeks ago. “Practicing non-attachment, find a new partner,” the facilitator said at the end of each exercise.
Yes. It is a practice. I am practicing letting go of my expectations. Of other people, of myself. I am practicing letting go of old loves and new ones. Of the stories I hear at work each day, the rapes, the assaults, the abortions. I cannot hold it all and still have space for myself.
We took a picture of the ribbon, and she threw it away.