How Do You Know When To Let Go?


Today marks the end of an era for me. It will (very likely) be the final concert of an orchestra that I have been involved with for many, many years.

I am sad that this orchestra won’t be around for my boys to play in, I was looking forward to sharing my love of orchestral music (playing anyway, I still find it really boring to listen to for the most part) with them and now won’t be able to with a group that I have such a history with and affinity for

I was first asked to join this group (hugely flattering!) about ten years ago. Since then I have played percussion, clarinet, flute, piccolo, oboe, piano and viola with them. I have seen the group play some spectacular concerts over the years, including a memorable concert for school children when we played the Harry Potter music (just after the first movie came out) and the kids nearly blew the roof off with their cheering.

Unfortunately I have also seen this group go from having forty members to our current membership of twelve. We call ourselves small but mighty, we are mighty but we are also realistic. Having so few members makes it terribly difficult to find repertoire that will sound correct (we have no brass section other than one French Horn player) so today will most likely be this group’s swan song.

We know that and are well on the way to accepting it but it still makes me a little bit sad, and causes me to think about all the other ways that I will have to let go as my boys begin to grow up and apart from me.  It hasn’t really happened yet but with Big Boy starting school in the fall I know that it’s just a matter of time.

One day soon I will have to let go as he climbs onto the school bus, as he starts to learn that there are more people in the world than just Mommy, Daddy and his little brother, as he starts to learn French! (I have a feeling he’ll learn how to tell me off and I won’t know it)

It was hard enough to let them go down the stairs by themselves (I’m glad I did though, at least I can get them out from underfoot for a few minutes, “Go downstairs and play!”) at this point I can’t even imagine what it will be like when I have to let them go off to college (and then grad school of some sort because, of course, they’ll both be academic geniuses!) but luckily I don’t have to worry about that today.

Today all I have to worry about is letting them go for a tractor ride with Papa, or letting them go off into the fields to explore some unknown path through the rye.  Letting them go amuse themselves while I try and actually make myself presentable for this afternoon (I should be able to squeeze in a shower if I’m lucky!)

Everyone needs to learn to let go in their lives whether it’s something silly (but oh so tragic at the time) like breaking a favourite toy or something much more serious like the loss of a family member.  Little Man is inconsolable now when his beloved “Reenie” (that’s you, Hannah!) leaves, she was visiting the other day and he broke down in tears when she closed the door to use the bathroom (of course, at the time he was coming down with Hand/Foot/Mouth disease so that may have exacerbated the situation!)

Now that I think about it, I may have less trouble with letting go myself than I will with trying to teach my boys how to let go of things in their lives. (“Let go of the drawstring on my pants, I’m tired of mooning the neighbours!”) The who, what, when, where, why and how is very liable to prove challenging as they grow and realize that there really is very little in the world that is permanent (including my state of dress, obviously).

This morning the boys will have to let me go (shower!) and play my goodbye.  I will have to let go of a Saturday morning ritual that has allowed me to grow as a musician, make new friends, influence young people and bring the joy of music to many.  It will be a difficult but necessary step on the road of life, one of many that I will have to take as a mom, and hopefully a good learning experience for when I have to teach my boys how to take their own hard steps on the road to letting go.



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