Bittersweet. (I want to raise strong children, strong adults. And then hope I am strong enough when they move away from me into their own lives.)

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I live about 3,500 miles away from my mother. My sister lives about 3,500 miles away from our mother, too – but in the opposite direction of me.

My mother is devastated that we both have moved so far away from what will always be her home. She keeps saying that if she had known we’d do this, she would have had a third child and kept that one chained in the basement.

I think we seem further away to my mother, because we’re in a different country, because there is an ocean between us, because it is not drivable. Sure, she probably wouldn’t choose to drive to visit my sister – but it could be done.

She said to me, ‘How will you feel if Snort and Coconut want to move away? Maybe they will move here to be with me.’

This makes me uncomfortable.

How would I feel if they struck off on their own paths, exploring the world, taking chances, doing Great Big Things like moving across the world for love? I would feel happy for them. I would feel sad for me.

I was just changing Snort’s poopy diaper. Because he’s wearing socks, his feet slip on the plastic changing mat. He looks like an ice skating penguin who has lost his way. He leans into me, puts his arms around my neck. He babbles in my ear, he peers out the window, he lets loose with wild and contented shrieks.

I lean my face against his soft hair, breathe in, think about how one day he won’t have poopy nappies. I won’t be able to hold him this way, he won’t always be within touching distance. This makes me cry, my eyes filling with easy tears as I murmur, ‘Oh, I love you.’ As I kiss him, as I memorize the feeling of two little arms around my neck.

One day he won’t be so small.

But maybe he’ll still need to lean on me, when he loses his balance, and I will always be there for him to lean on, to embrace, to be embraced by.

Who will I lean on when Snort and Coconut grow up? Why, TMD. And she’ll lean on me, because somehow life is so much sweeter with these little babies in it – and one day we’ll watch them with their babies….

and this makes me happy and sad.

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6 Responses to “Bittersweet. (I want to raise strong children, strong adults. And then hope I am strong enough when they move away from me into their own lives.)”

  1. Lara Says:

    When I think of the ideas of my children moving away from me I get sad. So I don’t think about it. I hope they do whatever makes them happy, I’m just keeping my fingers crossed it’ll be near me 😉

  2. joni rae Says:

    Oh this made me cry! I think about this often. They grow so fast, and I look forward to and dread each milestone they fly by.

  3. Natasha Says:

    After reading this I had to ask Anna for a cuddle. She immediately stopped what she was doing, ran over to me, clambered up onto my lap and flung her little arms around my neck. Then she just lay there, her legs either side of mine and her whole body against me. Her little head leaned into my neck and her fingers gently found a handful of my hair, curled into a fist and rested there. Then she just sunk still into me and it felt like we could stay this way forever. But after about 5 minutes she looked up at me and said, “Better Mummy?”, stroked me hair, gave me a kiss on the cheek and climbed down.

    I know I’ll always have a cuddle for my babies, and I hope they will always have one for me as well. The thought of my babies moving so far away honestly breaks my heart, and I hope the day never comes…

  4. bellygirls Says:

    My mom always said that whenever we were horrid during our teenage years she would think back to the sweet moments of our baby years. I think life is designed that way for a reason. It still doesn’t make letting go of your child any easier. When I moved out at 17, I couldn’t understand why my mom would call every morning just to say hi… then as I became an adult I started to get it… she missed me.

    This post brought tears to my eyes. I love that those babies will always have you and TMD to lean on.

  5. catsandcradles Says:

    PB and I watched “The Kids Are All Right”, and after the closing credits I turned to her and said “Someday our kids are going to grow up and go off to college!” And she said “That’s really what you took from this movie?”

    And of course, that wasn’t the only thing, but yeah, that part of the movie did affect me. Our Mango isn’t even born yet, but that doesn’t stop me from anticipating her/his eventual independence. I secretly, selfishly, hope our children don’t want to move as far away from us as we’ve done from our parents. But even if they do, I hope that we’ll have a strong enough relationship that they’ll want to stay close, even if we’re physically distant.

    Also, this post made me call my parents.

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