Saturday, September 27, 2014

Ambivalence, Thy Name is Mother

Today I will spend almost every waking moment cleaning. We are hosting a potluck/Bon Voyage party for Nicole today as she leaves in just over a week for Australia. I will make grocery lists, make food, put away endless STUFF, greet people, smile, have a good time seeing friends and meeting my kids' friends--but inside there is a little war going on between Good Mom and Bad Mom.

You see, I am THRILLED that Nicole is going back to Oz. She has made some incredible friends there--some of the best in her lifetime. Even though it has been two years since she went the first time, these friends have reached out across the miles during that time and listened, laughed, supported, shared, and kept in contact. Really great people. And it totally makes sense that she wants to go back and spend time with them.

She has worked full time plus for more than a year to raise the money for this. She has saved her tips and spent money carefully, frugally. She bought her work visa, and her tickets. I am so proud of her.

And I WANT her to go. It was ME who originally threw out the suggestion months ago. Hey, you had so much fun there, why not go back? It started the ball rolling.

But oh my, I do NOT want her to go. My husband adores me. My sons love me. My daughter GETS me. She knows how I am doing from the way I sigh, my tone of voice in a single word, or the way I move. She is almost telepathic in how she knows exactly what I am thinking. She also makes me laugh harder than anyone I have ever known. We share hobbies--spending hours crafting together and writing letters and reading.

And letting my daughter go thousands of miles to the other side of the world, you got it. Opportunity, adventure, excitement, friends, all of it. Letting my best friend go, however, not so easy. Who will search the bottom shelves of the thrift store on my favorite aisles for me? Who will squeal at a great finding and hug me? Who will sit at the craft table with me and show off her current masterpiece and then oooh and aaaah over mine? Who will make me say and sing and do incredibly stupid stuff just because she asked me to? Who will I buy Minions for and hide them around her room? Who will know, without my saying a word, that I am struggling and come over to hug me? Who will tear up at poignant scenes in movies with me? Who will wrap Christmas presents with me the day before Christmas, listening to music and laughing too much to do a decent job?

Ah yes, ambivalence . . your name is mother. Because I am sitting here helping her pack and prepare, and internally wanting to super glue her to her room. Because seeing her go off into the world full of excitement and enthusiasm and independence means Joseph and I did something very right with her, and I guess, the intense pain I feel at our separation means the very same thing. Sigh.

But it ain't easy.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Too Fast, Too Much, Too Loud

Life is flowing past me a little faster than I would prefer. Ha, hence taking this long to post again! I can't seem to hold onto time the way I want to these days. It just slips by, and I feel like I am running after it like a pet owner who has dropped the leash and is scrambling to get it, but the dog is hell bent on running for eternity. Yes, you're welcome for the incredibly odd metaphor.

August just . . . flew. We had a houseguest--Joseph's youngest brother rode his motorcycle here from Indiana, as he did last year, and spent 5 days visiting. I think he had a good time--at least he had a more comfortable bed this year, and he got to spend time with each of the kids since all were home.

In early September, we went camping at a local campground. How in the world you can go from being in the busy city to the deep woods in under 30 minutes, I just can't understand. I felt like we drove through a portal of some kind while I was blinking. Suddenly we were surrounded by 80 foot tall pine trees and moss and ferns--and the sounds of birds, and wind--it was wonderful. We are pretty experienced at setting up camp, so within an hour the five of us had three tents, two tables, six chairs, and a kitchen all set up. We spent the time reading, napping, talking, laughing, and relaxing. No work. No phones. No computers. Just nature. At one point--a little too much nature as a deer came wandering into our site, stood three feet away from me and munched on some of our trash. I chatted with him a bit before he wandered off. A few hours later, he returned with a couple of friends and they tried to take ALL of our groceries--Nicole stopped them.

Now fall is already sneaking in on chilly breezes and dropping leaves, and I am not ready, never ready. I love summer and it is hard to see it go. October means Nicole is leaving again as well--she is returning to Australia to live with the friends she met there last time. She has her work visa and places to stay, and this time, I suspect it will be six months or more before she returns. Coryn is planning to "join" her in January when he flies to New Zealand. Suddenly the house sure will feel emptier. I suspect a great deal of time will be spent on Skype.

This morning, along with wishing I could make time SLOW DOWN DAMN IT, I also wish I could turn my hearing off. You know--you climb into bed and close your eyes so vision stops. Why can't we do the same thing with hearing? Just close our ears? We have a snoring dog that has ruined many a night for me . . . I usually foist her off onto one of the kids, but since all three are working full time at the airport and have to be up at a ridiculous 4:30 A.M. to get there, I just can't do it. I've tried putting the pillow over my head, playing music, and yes, even kicking the dog. All to no avail. The couch was bed for me all night last night. Good thing it is a fairly comfy couch!

Work was slow and intermittent and then WHAM! I have been deluged with ongoing assignments that--thankfully--give me job security for the last 2-3 months--a rarity in the freelancing world. I won't be sitting around twiddling my thumbs any time soon . . . . No, I will be the one chasing after that leash and hoping when I catch it, the dog doesn't start snoring.