Letting Go

This is a dress that almost all of my daughters wore during holiday seasons. It is a red velvety fabric with white lace. Very feminine and very old.

Anyone who knows me knows that my girls have not worn this dress in a LONG time. It was purchased in the mid-80s.

It is for sale on eBay as are many other items from my childrens' growing up years.

A year after Hurricane Irene hit my area I am still shell-shocked by it all. We experienced a power outage that lasted for days and as a result of the rain, a major flood in our basement.

We did lose a lot of "stuff" and since that happened I have been conscious of just what is down my basement.

This dress has been hanging in my closet for years but the surprises hiding in my basement is what troubles me. I cannot believe just how much stuff I saved from their growing up years. It is time to let go.

It has been nearly a year since I began having trouble with my relationship with two of my daughters. It has made me question my parenting skills and at times made me feel like my sacrifices were made in vain.

It makes me remember my dear aunt who passed a year ago and how her relationship with several of her children was strained. My aunt was not perfect but she did not deserve the disrespect she got from too many of her kids.

It was only when she was lying in a hospital bed, unable to communicate, that her children rallied around concerned about her.

Too little too late.

Raising a large family is not easy. A mom is always accused of favoritism, of being too harsh or not being nurturing enough.

It is easy to judge until you are faced with being a mom yourself.

As I follow up on my promise I made to myself to let go of these symbols of my children's childhood I remember the person I was then. I wanted to do the best that I could for them although I didn't even know who I was.

I was battling demons from my own childhood and I often found myself in bad relationships. First and foremost was my commitment to my children. I felt that I was given a gift and it was up to me to rise to the challenge. No matter what mistakes I made my heart was in the right place.

When I hear criticisms that I was too this or too that, it hurts. When the good that I did isn't spoken about and only the negative is focused on, I get angry.

I never said I was perfect.

I did what any mother does- I tried to do my very best.

A year ago I stood by as my cousins all gathered at their mother's bedside. Behind her back they did what they do best- fought and stabbed each other in the back. My aunt knew who the troublemakers were and she was never fooled by any of them. Relatives and others may have noticed what seemed like favoritism but honestly one of her children was the one who was consistently always there for her.

My cousins wasted so much time and now their mother is gone.

Like I said my aunt was not perfect but who is? She was a gentle woman but she wasn't afraid to tell you how it was. She could keep a secret better than anyone I have ever met. She could also be incredibly supportive, understanding and wise. Had her children given her a chance and not been so judgmental of her they could have had a much better relationship.

I don't think that she ever imagined that when she was in the midst of raising her children that one day their relationship would become so strained. I know I didn't.

As I go through storage bins filled with toddler clothing, birthday cards and forgotten symbols of a childhood long gone, I remember how my world was my children. Nothing else mattered to me. Every choice I made I had their best interests at heart. Why did I sell myself so short? Why did I sacrifice only to have my every decision judged later on?

Maybe letting go of this "stuff" will heal me. Maybe saying goodbye to a past that now feels like it was for nothing will help.

Letting go has got to be a good thing.

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