Saturday, February 14, 2009

letting go

I always tell my pre-natal students that pregnancy and motherhood is about surrender. You surrender when you conceive, you surrender to the journey of pregnancy and when your baby is ready to be born you 'let go' to birth.

Motherhood is about letting go too. It's about holding back sometimes to allow your little one to explore. Watching with eyes half-closed to see if the exploring will end in triumph or a fall. Last week I learned the subtle art of standing back and observing as Che crawled around the garage while D worked on the bike.

And I realised that a camera can be so wonderful a shield. Through the lens I saw screwdrivers, sharp metal objects, danger and blood. In photos I captured exploration, concentration, fine motor skills, delight, wonder, deep thought and connection. I let go (for a few small moments) of my maternal and instinctual need to constantly protect and I watched Che learn. It's just the beginning of his adventure. And mine.


  1. Wonderful.

    Often the camera is a way for me to separate, too.
    Not from danger, and not from engaging... but capturing the moment from an Outsider's perspective.
    Not that I am an outsider... except for that moment behind my lens. Then I'm strictly the Observer.

  2. For some reason, my husband is so much better at letting our boys explore in situations where I am a basket case (especially around tools). I'm getting better though.

  3. How wonderful Jodi! I taught myslef the art of holding back too. My little one has started school and I must say, I'm really pleased to see her resiliance shining through, of all things, this I love the most in her. Too many parents go up to schools these days complainging of 'exclusion' etc, because they are just too involved with thier off-spring's 'socialising', Parker handles her rubuttles really well, so well that it doesn't enter into her stories of her school yard antics. Children reject each other all the time, why do so many parents take it so personally I wonder? I'll stop now .... perhaps a post is in order from me!!

  4. He could not be cutter Jod's. Loves his daddy's tools. I guess we must all take a step back at let them be what they need to be at times...

  5. yea! for both of you.

    it is so difficult at times, isn't it? even after 6 years i still sometimes struggle with it. but when you see them learn, grow, know you're doing it right

  6. yep, it certainly pays to let go a little. I love to see my kids exploring.
    Though the freedom and adventure that the 'famous five' enjoyed back in the good old days is long gone :)

  7. beautiful post!

    it seems to me there are two important components to this -- the first is allowing your child to explore, and the second is being there for your child.

    there are mothers who would be aghast at letting your child explore, thinking you should keep them wrapped in cotton wool. then there are mothers who push their children "out there" in order to make them "independent".

    when we are there for our children, they feel safe to explore.

  8. good on you, letting go can be one of the hardest things to do, but I think one of the most important. How else are children going to learn to do things for themselves? I learnt this one early on, as we were thick in the middle of building work on our little house when fin learnt to walk. Let's just say walking along floor joists teaches one amazing balance!! Lovely post, jodi.

  9. What a nice post. Your observations remind me of the photography of Sally Mann. I agree that it is part of letting go of the idea that we as parents have complete control. Surrending to the moment, a wonderful thought to ponder.

  10. I think I have mastered this art to the point of making others uncomfortable with my is the best gift I can give my little ones....and I find that trust goes perfectly hand in hand with the letting go. Such a thoughtful post...lovely.

  11. I find myself holding my breath so often now. But, it's well worth the letting go to see the beautiful results of my little fella's explorations.