“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust
As my six-year-old daughter and I walked in the rock climbing gym yesterday she pointed to a corner of the bouldering room and asked, “What are they doing there?” I responded that they were redoing all the routes in that section of the gym and she exclaimed, “But I was working on that one! I really liked it!” And then we went upstairs and commiserated with the camp coaches who were feeling the same thing.
I totally understand that sense of loss. In order to make room for new things, old ones have got to go. But sometimes I’m not ready to move on and the Universe does it for me. I’m talking about rock climbing routes — and also relationships, phases of life and things I find comfort in. Like my pajama pants that are exactly perfect so I’ve worn them forever and I loved them until they are almost in tatters and will likely disintegrate if I wash again. I’ll probably put them in the wash only to find they have “been disappeared” by some Divine force.
When I was little I had this blanket that I carried with me everywhere, my binky. We lived in the Philippines but came to the United States on extended vacation every two years. It was on this trip when I was five years-old that my mom decided that I shouldn’t need the blanket anymore, hid it from me and told me it was lost. I have a vague memory of looking for it everywhere – even in my parent’s luggage. Sooner or later I moved on but not without a lot of grief for Binky.
I think about this as a parent because I try to have infinite patience for my kids to grow out of things instead of creating timelines and thresholds. I seem to be doing a lot of work so that they won’t experience grief and I wonder if I’m doing them any favors. After all loss and renewal is one of the most elemental cycles of life.
When I went to pick my daughter up from rock climbing camp yesterday, I brought my climbing shoes with me so we could work on finding a new bouldering route together. We grieved for the great routes we’d lost like that purple one where she was just one hold from the top practicing her lean back technique. Then we climbed, fell and laughed together trying out new ones. It was a great way to experience resilience in the aftermath of loss. I left feeling so strong and inspired, I may actually get rid of those pajama pants myself. But don’t hold me to it…