The white spokes cut the sky, carving out little pieces of light blue cake slices in the air. It is a Saturday afternoon. I stand on the Navy Pier. The air is crisp, the smell of cinnamon roasted almonds, cotton candy, and saltiness of the ocean make their presence known. In the background, I hear voices of children yelling and laughing, while parents are hoping that the day’s activities means a guaranteed early bedtime for their kids. Peering through my black sunglasses, I shift my head back and forth in order to spot my daughter and husband. My eyes focus on each red chair struggling to identify where they are.
The small chairs wobble while the entire wheel moves in a steady cadence. I still cannot locate them. For a minute, I pause. Why didn’t get I get on? My daughter begged me to accompany her, but I hesitated. I dismissed her plea, partly because I did not want my anxiety to give birth to apprehension inside of her. I suspect I struggle to get on because it is linked to my fear of any physical sensation of change and the relinquishing of control.
Why do I insist on having this need for control? Why am I unable to let go? My grip on my camera tightens. I keep taking more pictures. Every shot is a reminder that the time captured will never materialize again. I will never recreate the same feeling, texture, or image of the previous picture.
I grab a seat and wrap my sweater around me. The air is now cold. The heaviness of the moment swallows me, but does not seem to penetrate anyone else. A young couple is kissing, another man is enjoying his margarita, two sisters are braiding each other’s hair, while I sit and contemplate my need to hold on to time. Are contemplating these moments preventing me from really experiencing the wholeness of what is happening?
Searching for my phone, I press speed dial. Just as I do so, I look up and my daughter is running toward me with the widest grin and laugh.
“How was the ferris wheel? ” I ask.
“It moved so slow Momma. So slow. I wanted it to go faster. I was not scared at all.”
The striking juxtaposition of our contrasting emotions is not lost on me. I am always reaching for slow-motion and she is running toward fast forward.
I hold on.
She lets go.
“I hold on. She lets go.”
This is so much of what parenthood is for some of us. But we do learn to let go. (We have to.)
Holding on and letting go…bittersweet. We spend our lives doing this in one form or another.
This brought me to tears. Beautiful.
Great post, Rudri. I am still learning how to let go of things…
Beautifully penned, my friend. This is life, they run toward the future and we slow down and we attempt to keep the moment for a little longer. I hope next time you go with them. 🙂 hugs.
My son and I are the same way. I’m always the one on the sidelines watching, though I did make a major change a few years ago when I decided to learn how to swim for the first time (was tired of always sitting by the pool watching my son and husband). But, for the most part, I don’t allow myself to be “free” or let my hair down, so to speak. I think it’s who we are — our personalities, our pasts and the way we were brought up. I think it’s okay, but in the rare moments that I give in, I find that it can feel quite exhilarating. Our children can teach and change us too.
So often at fairs and festivals my daughter is full speed ahead and I hesitate behind with my camera. I am afraid of rides and speed which is based on deeper feel of loss of control. I never want her to know about it so I lag behind a lot. Recently I went on a scary twisty slide with her for the first time ever. She was not afraid at all and went sailing away. I did what I had to do – I followed her. It was amazingly refreshing to actually let go.
Beautifully written…you pose some relevant questions. Now, to answer them…:)