“Mama, can I have this money?” 8 year old John asked me this morning. He was wandering the house gathering loose change for a donation to his school’s book fair. The PTA gathers loose change and creates a fund for kiddos who would not otherwise be able to buy books.
John’s question was asked with a smirk as he passed by my nephew Thomas’ candle. He knew that I’d stepped on that nickel under the table a few months back in one of my waves of deep sadness for Thomas’ death. He knew that one of a thousand little magic moments had found me that day as I picked up the rogue coin and the smirk of another Thomas – Thomas Jefferson – stared back at me. For that Now, my rigidity of mourning melted into tendrils of softness.
John knew all of this. And he knew that I’d had that coin sitting with the candle reminding me of all the little magic that seeps in in a big way when we are listening. Feeling. Being.
“Uh, what? No.” I reacted without pause to his question and he continued walking across the kitchen.
But I was caught. Frozen for a moment in a ripple that had a different momentum to the wave. I heard a quiet voice from far back within me whisper, “Let it go.”
“Hold on, kiddo. You can have it. For sure.”
He turned around with utter surprise on his face. And, to be honest, a bit of terror.
“No mama, no. You should keep that.” His eyes began to fill with pools of love and so much more. More that was beyond my assumptions; more that was beyond his understanding. A rainbow of emotion shone in the prism of tears that veiled his eyes.
“John, that coin is just a reminder to me of the essence of Thomas in his life and now beyond in my heart. It isn’t the connection itself. The coin is just a thing. The connection remains regardless.”
My 8 year old softly padded back across the floor. His slanted blue eyes searched mine for assurance. I gently smiled at him and pulled him close.
“This nickel was meant for me to find that day, John. And now, it is meant to move on. And Thomas – with his deep love of books and reading – would want it to go no where more than to kiddos who will now have pages to turn.”
When we practice the little let go’s, they patiently add up to surrender. One little let go at a time, we dance between grief and remembering. One little let go at a time, we discover so much more beyond what we see.
Oh, and that quarter you see in the picture above? Well, 5 year old Ruthie wordlessly watched this scene unfold as she ate her cereal. As soon as John walked off, she ejected from her seat, smiled knowingly at me, raced upstairs like a jack rabbit on espresso, and returned beaming from ear to ear. Sitting back in her chair ramrod straight with smirk on her face and assurance in her bones, she moved swiftly:
went the quarter down on the table. She looked up at me with sparkling eyes and still wordless mouth.
“There.” she said from within her silence.
In my new space, I got an expanding heart of a son, a softening heart of my own, and a giggling heart of my daughter’s.
Little magic feels big. Little let go’s add up.