I’m steadily practicing the art of letting go.

Although I dabbled in it for many years, letting go was more of a hobby for me than a habit. But in August, a series of painful events led me to realize letting go was crucial to my emotional health and survival. So I jumped in with both feet, fists raised, and just ... let go.

I’m letting go of situations that have caused me distress, confusion, anxiety and heartache for many years. And I’m finding it’s really quite liberating and doesn’t hurt as much as I feared … as long as I don’t think about it, or the implications, too much.

But then, not thinking about it is part of letting go, right?

Last weekend, three of my four children and their families traveled to South Texas to visit my mother, their Mimi. My husband and I were invited to go along but we declined. It was a difficult decision to make. I always want to be with my children, grandchildren and the rest of my family.

Togetherness means a lot to me. It’s been an issue ever since the kids grew up, especially after their father and I divorced. We are a close family and most of us want to stay that way. But due to circumstances beyond our control, we don’t live near each other and busy schedules make frequent road trips and visits nearly impossible.

Empty Nest Syndrome is a sneaky thing. Just when a mother thinks she’s fine, like she’s recovered enough to actually offer advice to friends and family suffering from the effects of their children leaving home, it rears its ugly head again.

My chicks began flying away about 10 years ago. Now, after all these years, I feel like I’m in pretty good shape. But I still have moments when I miss having my children around me all the time. I miss feeling useful to them. I try to remember what it was like when they needed me.

Last weekend, I was downright tired and just didn’t feel like making the road trip to Mom’s house. Like I said, it wasn’t an easy decision. I struggled with it on Friday night and all day Saturday. I felt like I was missing out on something really great. And I was. Any time spent with the family is a good time.

I also wavered between feeling like a terrible daughter, mother and grandmother and feeling like a strong, independent woman doing only what was best for me. In my heart, I know I’m not a terrible anything, but motherly guilt is a strong emotion.

In spite of it all, my husband and I had a really great weekend anyway. I reconnected with my home, did some cleaning, cooking, redecorating and yard work. By Sunday night I felt accomplished and rested. I didn’t regret not taking the road trip; I only regretted the circumstances that keep my family so far apart.

But I guess that’s something else I need to put on my list of things to release: Regret.

Letting go takes only a second, after all, and it feels so good.

Contact Kristi Johnson at kristij@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7548

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