Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Gone



My Lovely Son, the big presence, the oh-so-handyman, has taken the pencil from behind his ear, loaded up his toolboxes and gone back to London. Waving him off was painful, behind the smiles and hugs. It never gets any easier, does it, this saying goodbye to your child, no matter how old he/she is.

I say the same old things like "Have you got everything? Will you let me know you've got home safely? Do you have cash on you - just in case?" and today, at the actual point of departure, when the engine is running, "Is Millie out of the car?" but inside, a small voice is struggling not to cry out "Don't go! Stay a little longer!" But he has already stayed a little longer, and must go back to his own life as a grown man who doesn't live with his mother.



The dog starts moping in the morning, even before the car is loaded up. I try not to join her, because she isn't subtle about it, and my son is all too aware of how painful this parting is for us all. But afterwards, when the house is strangely quiet and empty again, I sit down and let myself feel the complex and wordless emotions of a mother having parted again with her child.

These are the times when I can understand my own mother's decision to move, at 80, from her lovely home in a seaside town to a small flat in this city that she so disliked, "to be nearer to one of her children." The need to be near one's child comes closer to the surface with age, I suspect, and isn't only to do with an increased need for physical or practical assistance. I'm not at that stage of life yet, and can rejoice in my son's healthy adult independence, can cope without him, can get by with calls and texts and emails, but oh, I do miss having him at home.

So he leaves, and I sit, and slowly draw towards me again the familiar threads, rhythms and patterns of living alone, of silent hours and a head full of unspoken thoughts, of quiet unregimented days, of coming and going as I please, of watching and being watched by small creatures whose demands are straightforward, and - this rather to my relief - of smaller, sometimes-erratic, barely-planned meals. And I love it, I do. But it takes a day or two to find my equilibrium again. The dog snuffles hopefully at the door of my son's room every morning for a few days after he has gone; I know exactly how she feels.

And he did ring when he got home; he always does. It rounds off the parting, lets us both know we have got safely through it, and we can say cheerfully "See you soon!" and in the meantime, get on quite equably with our separate lives.

But he did admit to fretting, as far as Durham, about whether or not he really did get Millie out of the car.....

16 comments:

Paddy Paws said...

I've just put the kettle on; do you want to come round for a cuppa? There's even some of Nigella's Christmas Rocky Road chocolate naughtiness in the fridge.

valct4joy said...

I so understand all the emotions you describe. As you say, it's the small routines and pleasures that help one to get on to an even keel again. Perhaps it's this ability to be contented and cheerful that brings our children home again or makes us welcome when we are able to visit them.

Lucille said...

Hmm. I'm not liking these feelings. The moment is creeping nearer. Son two has just heard about a placement in Japan for his Gap Year. Japan! So far. So foreign. Meanwhile I am maundering over the photos of their childhood and I can hardly believe it was them. Or us.

Mountain Thyme said...

It is amazing to me that there are people in this world (some of them my friends) who don't feel this way about their children. I think they are loosing out on a beautiful thing.

I can treat my children like the adults that they are and respect and honor their choices and their lifestyles. But, every day, I miss them and miss cooking for them and talking to them and kissing them goodnight. And they know that when they are "home", they need to call and tell me they got somewhere all right or that they are going to be late, etc.

My heart and soul belong to them.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

I used to feel a wrench when I left my mother behind at the station and went back to my life and I know now how she felt . It never gets any easier .
But the knowledge that the're thriving and enjoying the lives they've built is a great consolation .
So make your favourite supper , put your feet up and watch your favourite programme and plan a good day out soon .
Sonata .

Val said...

Nice post ...hope your equilibrium is restored soon

Rattling On said...

I like my children. I love them, of course, but I like them as people as well. I think that's the difference really; that's why you miss someone. You like being around them.
I miss the girls even if they are late home from school.

Gwen Buchanan said...

I so know these feelings; you have described them so well... it brings tears to my eyes...

Fran Hill @ Being Miss said...

I know that feeling. Mine isn't so great at keeping in touch. I get the occasional text saying 'Alive' which is his way of reassuring me! It always makes me laugh.

liZZie said...

Yes, and how I wonder about extended families that live near and remain intertwined. I envy that, but it is a stranger to me and I'm proud of my girls for their intedendence, but it's difficult to keep a cap on the heartache at times.

Poshyarns said...

You have described the feeling so well, I already struggle with days when they are late from school and even with years to go I can feel the dread of the day they leave home. Motherhood is equal part joy and heartache sometimes.

jinksy said...

How perfectly you expressed the complex emotions of loving and letting go of one's children... the invisible ties that bind tend to remain unbroken...

love those cupcakes said...

Know exactly what you mean about it not getting any easier with the passage of time. But please promise not to join the dog snuffling at LS's bedroom door.

Marcheline said...

I've never had kids, but I have a mom that lives thousands of miles from me... and your post has made more real to me the feelings behind the things she says. "Why don't you come and visit more often?" "I'm spoiled, I like to hear from you every day."

I feel the same pull towards her, but I also know that if we lived close by, it just wouldn't work - I'm too much of an independent spirit, and she's - well, she's Mom. She's never given up her authority to organize and round up and herd and tend and suggest and "noodge"... ha!

But I do call and email and text her all the time.

Lesley said...

The dog looks so sad but brave and resigned too she seems to sum up your emotions a bit!!

Having read this, I'm glad I'm spending more time with Ma and Pa these days - was getting too independent really. It can cross the line from independence to just plain thoughtlessness if you don't watch it and it's great having closer lives than we used to. We've always been close but not seen that much of each other.

Lesley x

pennygj said...

Oh....I've not been around for a while, just dropped in, read this and I'm all snuffly and damp. No one warned us, did they, how hard those goodbyes to grown-up children can be, how brave we've got to be when all we want to do is be all clingy and weepy. But the cheery goodbye does mean they'll be back again, even if it's never soon enough!
Meanwhile, you have those furry babies to keep you busy! Penny x (Planet Penny)

Related Posts with Thumbnails