For someone who likes to be in control, I have become very practiced in the art of letting go. Not that it gets easier, mind you. In this case, practice most definitely does not make perfect.
Last night, I watched as a vintage Laura Ashley coffee mug, one of a pair I had found years ago in a charity shop, was scattered into sharp-edged chunks as it fell from its precarious perch, where my 11 year old had placed it, onto the unforgiving tiled floor of our Spanish home.
And I chose - admittedly after a significant internal struggle - to let go. You might think that I didn’t really have a choice, since the thing was by now in pieces on the floor. But there was a moment when, groping for some metaphysical miracle of restoration, something inside me felt the mug and all it represented in terms of having things the way I like them to be more important than my 11 year old, standing before me with a crestfallen look on her face, wishing the past 5 seconds could be undone. As was I.
I recognise this feeling, this moment of choosing. Sometimes it is momentary, as with the rather lovely, irreplaceable mug. Sometimes it is a far longer process of looking squarely at two apparently decent decisions and deciding: this is good, this is not so good (for now, for me, for us, for getting us to a particular destination). And so, sometimes gently, sometimes desperately and with tears, or a line of colourful language running through my head, I choose to let go of something that seems, on the surface at least, to be a good thing.