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.

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