This week I participated in two celebrations which once again made me think about the strong connections between joy and loss, between holding and letting go. The first celebration was the occasion of my twin sons’ fourteenth birthday, the second was a beautiful wedding of our friends’ daughter. On my sons’ birthday, I took the day off to be with them and a couple of friends, accepting that my changing role with them is to be available from a greater distance, as they now seek connection from a widening circle. At their birth fourteen years ago I was their world, constantly providing nourishment, safety and comfort. Quickly that expanded to include their father, sister, grandparents, and many other loving caretakers and later, teachers and coaches. We have provided, as well as we could, all of the physical, emotional, and mental support and stimulation we could imagine they needed. Now, they seek more from their friends and are relying on themselves and less from me and their father. I celebrate their growing independence, and as I let go, remember they still need me-just in a different way. Weddings, like births, are among the “highs” in life: beautiful and powerful symbols of our hope.

We celebrate the promise of love. Love doesn’t prevent sad and tragic events but makes them bearable. Love enriches our lives with the joy of sharing. Yesterday we witnessed the young couple sign their marriage contract promising to look to each other for love and support forever after. Then the two mothers of the couple broke plates, a powerful symbol of their changing roles. No longer are the mothers responsible for feeding these young people-they now have each other to depend upon. We celebrate. . . and we let go.