Learning to Let Go

How hard is it to let go? Whether in your personal life with your children, family or friends? How does it differ from letting your characters go?

Growth is an important factor in life and in writing. I’ve found similarities between how I choose to interact with family, parent, and how I let my characters mold themselves in their story. It’s funny you know, their story? How is it theirs when I’m writing them? Well I’ve found that when I try to force my hand or make the story go how I want it, it seizes and comes to an abrupt halt. Even when the characters I’ve come to love…and hate at times…go through hell, I can’t just yank them back because I want to save them from grief.

Life has to play out and just like in real life it must happen in the story. Letting go though is harder than one can imagine. At times I wonder if it’s the mother in me, or if it’s the female need to nurture characteristic.

In any event once the full story is out, just like watching one of my children succeed, I feel the same emotion and it’s a great feeling.

Musings for the Month.

When you’re writing, or even in real life. Is it about you or what’s best for your characters or loved ones.

My daughter is starting a new chapter in her life at fifteen. My musings come from mixed comments over my permission for her to go spend the last four years of her young adult life with her father. Permission, she’s as much his as she is mine. Somehow it leads to justification… And I find myself thinking, what is there to justify? Do the needs of a daughter and father come before selfishness or is it selfless of me to share her? For 15 years her father has been over seas the last seven in Iraq and living when time permitted over coms, email and snail mail. Now that he’s home in the states why would anyone presume to think it wrong for her to go? It’s been an interesting journey of friends and family members who have conflicted opinions. But in the end it’s not about me or him but about her. Just her and her needs. Nothing else matters.

So as I sat at the airport this morning, no tears just big hugs I thought…I hope she has  a grand time, and that she doesn’t get lost in the bigger airport. She boarded the plane like a young adult and even with her layover found her gate alone.

Letting go also means to know that when they grow up they can handle transitions alone w/o aide. The phone call I received did wonders for me. I could hear the elation in her voice. She was worried she ‘d get lost in the big airport and mess up.  So there is a lesson in everything it seems.

Letting go isn’t as easy as it seems but it is definitely a huge part of the ability to adapt to change.

Now if I can transpose those thoughts to writing, it’ll be much easier than the warring in my head with the hero’s!


About mahalia2010

Mother, Sister, Friend, Author

Posted on June 28, 2010, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.

  1. Hello Hale! It is very hard for us to let go sometime. Sometimes I think we hold on a little too much and our child/children can’t grow. I think that was a very brave decision on your part to let her go…seriously, I don’t think that I would have been able to…a visit for the summer maybe…Hope everything works out for all involved. Very nice and emotional blog. HUGS!


  2. Thanks Serenity. We talked about summers my daughter and I. What we came up with is that it just wasn’t enough time. Summer is maybe two months for four years. When they’ve been fighting to keep in contact over seas and over in Iraq for ten years. I don’t think that civilians understand how hard it is to have a parent or family member at war or overseas in training unless they have one themselves. The heartache, the worry, the inability to control what might or might not happen, it’s one huge roller coaster ride of emotions. She needs this time and she’s missed much already. I’m sure everything will work out if not we’ll all re evaluate.


  3. Yeah, it is very hard to sit and wait. My uncles are career military and most retired after 30 years of service. Best to her and her dad…hope you post pictures of the happy reunion.


  4. My sweet mother always taught me to be the bigger person. You are brave, confdient and you did the right thing. Who knows how the face-to-face father/daughter reunion will go but you will always know in your heart you did what was right for this girl you so love and she will never forget your kindness in giving her the gift of letting her go…Mary Kennedy Eastham

  5. They had a reunion over Christmas. I didn’t even know he showed up on my door step and she passed over me to get out the door once she heard his voice!The school gave her , her homework for three weeks. He’d flown in to get things set up for returning to the states had month of leave. The school and I talked with how hectic it was and the length of time since she’d been with him to excuse her while he was stateside. So she just had to wait for him to transfer. Thanks 🙂

  6. Lettting go is hard. I’ve had to let go too and it is hard and sometimes people don’t understand why you do these things. But it’s for the better.

    Had a wip I didn’t want to let go of too, took two years to write that one, and it wasn’t long either. But the other day I finsihed it. Wow, I was finally happy.

    Love and blessings

  7. What a great post, Hales. I’m glad you weren’t sniffing at the airport, but I have to say, your post got me teary. In the best way. You are right. Learning to let go is such an important lesson. As a mom, as a writer…as a person.

  8. Thanks Rita– It surprises me how similar it can be both in writing and in rl!

    Whoot on the story can’t wait to see it 🙂

  9. Thanks Beth. It was a good feeling. She didn’t cry either. She was so excited.

    It just really got the wheels to turning on how hard it is not to push the characters in different directions.

    Something I thought was great to reflect on.

  10. Mahalia, my hats off to you on being such a wonderfully selfless mother. We hear all too often these days about the parents fighting over the children. I applaud you for putting her needs before anyone else’s incuding your own.

    And one last thing, *HUGS*

  11. Thanks Nicole. LOL I’m not selfless just a mother. Thanks for the compliment though.

  12. I know that this hard for you to let go but the your daughter has had the benefit of your wisdom for 15 years. My father died over 25 years ago when I was 19 and I was also in the military. Sometimes a question will pop into my mind that I want to ask him and then I realize that he is not there. At 46 I am still a “daddy’s” girl.The time I had with him gave me insights on different things in life that I use today.
    Your daughter has the chance to ask her father all the questions and learn all the little things that a woman learns from her dad. They say that the father is the first man in a woman’s life and this relationship sets the stage for all the future male relationships she will have. It sounds as if she has a good father because if he was not she would not be able to spend this time with him.
    My hat’s off to you for being selfless and letting go. Your daughter will be back because she is 1/2 you. You will be amazed by the changes you will see in her.

  13. what a lovely testimony. Thank you for sharing. She has a wonderful soon to be stepfather who’s been in her life and her siblings since they were toddlers. I’m marrying my best friend next year. So she has both him and her father. The two get along very well it’s nice feeling. I’m just excited for her, plus she has siblings on her fathers side she’s very close too. Cocooned in a blanket of love 🙂

  14. When it comes to letting go of family, and children especially, I’m horrible at it. I cry everytime someone comes to visit and then leaves after a few days. I admire you, putting her needs ahead of your own emotions. Evidence of great parenting!

  15. Hey Kissa! So good to see you. There was too much excitement to cry 🙂 There is no handbook for parenting all we can attempt is to make good choices! Thanks



  16. Wow, awesome post. You are a wonderful mom. It’s hard to cut the strings, let them go and be their own person. Your daughter is very lucky to have someone so selfess to call mom and her father is equally lucky. he has a chance to get to know his daughter again and that is a gift that you gave him

  17. Thanks Juliana 🙂 What a wonderful comment.

  18. Oy Mrs Sin, isna easy watching or waiting, but ye didna lose her or leave her, is just new addy and shall see in visits an calls…. much akin ta me an me Da, fam. We grow ta make proud as individuals, ye canna grow if held back or captured.

    Ye did well, in me eyes.


  19. Awh thank you young man. I know it’s very much like you and your dad and fam. When did you get so wise at your young age? *teases*

  20. Och, me wise? Never! *G* Just ken more than most.

  21. Hales,
    You’re a wonderful person to be able to do what you’re doing. Not many women would do it when her father is practically a stranger to her. It’s so great of you to share your prescious daughter even if it is with her father. But like you say, it’s what she wants and needs. They need to get acquainted.


  22. Thanks but he’s not really a stranger to her. Phyically maybe but they’ve talked via net,phone and email for years and I’ve known him since I was nine years old. I’m just happy they finally together after years of waiting. She has two blessed homes and a two sisters and a brother with her. She gets to know all of them 🙂 The oldest of his and his wife’s and she have talked via phone and email forever. She got to visit during Christmas and they were inseperable.

  23. D'Ann Linscott-Dunham

    Wow! I could never do that, not in a million years. I salute your courage.

  24. Courage? She’s left to go on vacations before they all have. We talked yesterday and we’ll be having webacam meetings. She’s having fun.

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