Tuesday, 9 March 2010
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.....
Posted by rachel at 16:43