Tuesday, 29 April 2014

a game of catch

My toddler runs to me over and over again. I catch her whole body, and I wrap my arms around her, hold her, and then let her go. She runs away from me and then she returns. I catch and I catch and I catch.

This fun game always leads to giggles. I love her giggles, her pure joy at being caught over and over again. Her job is to run to me, trust me, and laugh.  My job is to catch her.

I know that someday this game of catch will transform from a physical game to a more mental and emotional one. She will dream. She will write. She will have her own thoughts, she will have achievements and disappointments, and I will continue to catch her. 

I play this more advanced game with her older teenage brother.  He no longer runs to me with his body, and instead runs to me with ideas and thoughts.  I still catch him and secretly long for those days when he would run excitedly to me with his whole being.

I am happy to play this game of catch over and over again with my children no matter what their age or their style, but lately I am aware of how it has become a game of letting go.

I catch and then I let go.

Yesterday I dropped my son off for a week's trip with a group of teenagers.  This will be the longest time he has ever been away from us--the longest physical gap in our game of catch. I was okay about saying goodbye because rationally I want him to have his own experiences, but emotionally it feels strange that I now stand on the peripheral of his own catching game.  He doesn't always need me to catch him.

Just before I left the boat, he came to me, hugged me, and we let go.  Our catching game has equally become a game of letting go, but for a single moment, in his arms, he caught me.