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Natural Awakenings Atlanta

The Art of Letting Go

May 02, 2022 06:00AM ● By Sheila Ewers

Sheila Ewers (middle) with her daughter Kate McVay and son Sean McVay (Photo: Sylvia Guardia Photography)

Sometimes I feel like being a mother consists of little more than a million goodbyes. 

The first one was a farewell to who I was before children. Cast into what often felt like a world full of danger and uncertainty and left to navigate with nothing but the pole star of my own heart, I became something altogether new, capable of a love more fierce and more pure than I had even known existed.

Each and every day, I fell in love with the child in my arms, only to realize that by the next morning, they had awakened, changed, and I had to meet them again as if for the first time—even while longing for the baby they had been the day before. 

Every year brought a whirlwind of disentanglement as I cast them into the arms of teachers, babysitters, coaches, friends and other families. I moved them to colleges and apartments and watched them begin to accumulate the accoutrements of a life without me. I did so until that life suddenly became their norm, and my presence—once the only thing that mattered—faded into the background.

Don’t misunderstand. I know that I am lucky; my children are strong and independent, thriving in a confusing and chaotic world, and they sometimes even want to be with me! Every now and then, I get to fill my insatiable parent hunger for a few days or a few hours. But those occasions are fleeting, as they should be, and inevitably, I find myself saying another goodbye—as I did at 5 o’clock this morning. I watched my daughter get into a cab and head back to the dreams she is building, the love that awaits her and the new adventure whispering her name.

I don’t quite know how to hold this strange brew of pride and longing and love and memory—all at the same time. It’s too much and not enough and I don’t have the words to express any of it. 

So I say only this: Goodbye, my amazing child. May your dreams be bold and your obstacles be few. May you be loved and cherished by those who hold you when I can’t. May every day I spend apart from you be one day closer to when we meet again. May you know as the most certain thing in your life how very much I love you. ❧

Sheila Ewers, E-RYT 500, YACEP, teaches group and private yoga lessons, yoga philosophy workshops and yoga teacher trainings and leads yoga retreats. She’s also a former professor of writing and literature and a former yoga editor of this magazine.

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