Letting Them Go
This story is of how Charles felt letting all his close, much loved children go, one at a time.
Hope you enjoy,
Sure he was mad. Of course he was upset. Out of the corner of his eye he could see Caroline giving him the “don’t get riled up” look. He was trying hard not to, really he was, but Caroline couldn’t blame him.
After all, he had already had to let his two little girls go and his young son. First Mary, his smart, blue eyed Mary. Then Laura, his feisty, “let me help Pa”, Half-pint. And Albert, his first son who he loved with all his heart. He thought his world had ended then. But, now, Carrie!?
How could this be happening? When Mary was young, Charles knew she was “the apple” of many a boys eyes in Walnut Grove. Then, she went blind and met Adam. And Charles moved the family to Winoka for her sake. While there he had prepared himself for when Adam asked to court, and later asked to marry his daughter. And though they had had rough patches, they worked them out and got married. And they had a wonderful, loving marriage too.
Then half-pint. It had seemed she had only been a little girl for a few days, and then she began to sprout up. Though it was very very hard for him, he had grown to love Almonzo as a son-in-law, just as Laura and Caroline knew he would. Still, he would never be rid of the small bit in him that wished to have his little, buck-tooth, scraped knees, half-pint back. And the fact that Laura had unexpectedly given Caroline and him their first little grandbaby, he loved her so much for that.
Albert had left too. Charles loved his kind, caring son. Yet, when he had left, it was as if Charles had anticipated it. When Albert had gotten so sick, everyone thought it was over for him. Then, by some miracle, some unexplained miracle, he had regain strength and overcame his sickness. Once he got better, he realized how important his friends, family, and loved ones were. When they returned to Walnut Grove and Albert fell in love with Michelle, Charles expected, if Albert got well, he would go to college and ask Michelle for her hand in marriage. When he got better, just as Charles had predicted, he became a doctor as well as Michelle’s husband.
But, now, it had happened. The boy, sitting right in front of him, had asked permission to court his small baby Carrie and Charles knew it was the beginning of the end. Sure Carrie had grown into a young woman, but in Charles’ eyes she was still his little girl.
Suddenly, out of no where, he remembered Laura and Mary’s first day of school. They were climbing the hill to head into town and Carrie raced after them. Charles quickly picked her up and assured her she had a “few years yet”, he would have never guessed those ‘few years’ would fly by so very quickly.
Everyone else had left the table after supper and only them four remained around the table. He felt the stares and started looking around the dinning table. They boy looked as if he were going to die of anticipation, Caroline was awaiting the answer, and then Carrie. Charles saw in Carrie’s eyes the question that had lingered in Mary’s eyes, and then Laura’s. “Please Pa, Oh Pa, Please say YES!!”, How could he decline that look of longing in her eyes?
“Well, son, I give you my permission to court Carrie, now, how about we go for a little walk?” As the words escaped his lips, he heard sighs of relief flood the room.
“Yes, Sir” the young boy replied.
Walking out into the crisp night, Charles could since the boy tense up.
“Son, I know you’re a good person by the way Carrie talks of you, and your Pa is an awful good man”
“Thank you Mr. Ingalls”
“I know I needn’t worry, but just in case, I wanted to tell you, you better treat my daughter with as much respect as any woman in your life” Charles said, trying not to be to hard, yet wanting to get his point across.
“Yes Sir, I intend to”
“I know you will son, I know you will. No how ‘bout we go in, I’m sure their’s some pie awaiting us in there”
“Yes Sir, Thank you!” He said reaching to shake Charles’ hand.
“Sure son” Charles said, opening the door to enter the house.
Those words sounded so familiar to him, for that was almost exactly the same discussion he had encountered with Almonzo.
“Well, how would the two of you like some pie?” Caroline asked.
“Yes’m Thank you kindly”
Charles glanced at Caroline, and he saw an understanding look in her eyes. Charles knew Caroline had held he and the girls together during their awkward times. She had always been their to calm them down and straighten them out.
Caroline and Carrie lied four plates on the table. They all sat down and enjoyed the homemade pie, discussing school and the upcoming church social.
When the night drew to an end, Carrie followed her new beau out the door.
Charles opened his mouth to object, but before any words could escape, Caroline placed a gentle hand over his shoulder to stop him. He quickly glanced over to look at her and gave her a guilty, childish grin.
When Carrie finally entered the door, she had a smile from ear to ear. Charles dared not asked what had put it there, but he knew when Caroline went to “tuck her in”, she would find out herself.
Staring at the ceiling above his bed, Charles remembered all the good times his family had had.
Like when they first came to Walnut Grove, he recapped the way Laura, Mary, and Carrie came running down the hill. Carrie had tripped and gotten back up, looking so sweet. Many other things came back to his mind, many loving, difficult, and funny times.
Yet, he knew he still had James, Cassandra, and Grace to let go. He dreaded it, burying it back in the farthest corner of his mind, knowing one day soon, he would have to dig it up again.
Drifting off to sleep, he undeniably knew he was going to have the hardest time letting them go. And, he prayed God would humble him with an open mind for it all, knowing that was the major quality he lacked.
"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them."