Monday, February 16, 2009

Missing Kids When It Doesn't Make a Lick of Sense

We just got back from the airport, where we delivered Dan and Janae and Leslie. Dan is flying home to Dallas, Janae and Leslie are on a 'Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure' trip to the Big Apple for a whole 24 hours. Then Janae will head back to Dallas and Leslie will fly home to Pittsburgh. We had fun, fun when they were here, we ate way too much, slept not enough, made messes, spent too much money on food and fun, hung out for times of sheer nothingness, and also partied like there was no tomorrow.

Everytime we drop them off at the airport, I find myself doing a mental count of how long it'll be til I get to see them again, and this time it's 19 days for Dan and Janae and 24 hours for Leslie. So I didn't cry. Which I usually do. But still there's something very raw and tender about watching your kids walk away, go through security and disappear in the tram that takes them to the other side, to board planes where they fly far away. A re-reminder of how grown up they are, how separate their lives are, how the time when they were little slipped way too fast through our fingers. And I find myself missing them instantly, in a way that makes absolutely no sense.

Good grief parenting is not for sissies. It sucks the last drop of emotional energy out of you, and yet it's the best thing that ever happened, isn't it?

We are always so worn out, in every way possible, after the kids fly home, whichever kids that might be, or even when we fly home, that it's become a ritual to stop for dinner, and when Manly asks what I'm hungry for, I always tell him, 'somewhere quiet'. I could care less what they serve, as long as there's no hustle bustle.

It's not exactly the noise I'm trying to avoid, but rather the activity that comes with it, when I need to give my heart a place to rest for a little bit, from the blur of time that consisted of the minute when they came off that plane and I recognized them, out of the crowd, to seeing them piled in beds sleeping, or splayed out on sofas watching late night TV, or around our table, then there we were, back to the airport, where we stood and looked til we spotted them, above the crowd, and they disappeared into it again. My heart usually needs a rest after that.

After almost 33 years of parenting, it still gets to me every single time, and I doubt there's much hope for it ever getting better. I strongly suspect this is exactly how my own mother or father feels, when I visit them. That moment when you first see that child you brought into the world, and it doesn't matter a lick if they are over half a century old. To that last moment when they climb into the car or head through the airport, and you know you won't see them again for awhile, even when it's nineteen days or twenty-four hours. It just doesn't make any sense at all.

All of which I'm thankful for tonight.

13 comments:

pcb said...

Oh, but it DOES make sense. At least to me. I can hardly stand it when mine pull out of the driveway on their way back to their homes. I have a ritual where I stand on the breezeway and watch until the last possible minute. Every time.

Becky said...

I agree with pcb. In our heads it doesn't make sense. They are OLD for goodness sake and perfectly able to take care of themselves.

But in our hearts, it makes total sense. You said this SO SO SO well. It is exactly the way I would have said it if I could have figured out a way to put it into words.

Thanks, Bev.

Barb said...

It's so true, that no matter how old you are, you're still someone's baby. You managed to express the way we all feel, in very simple words that say it all.

It doesn't have to make sense - it's just the simple truth that whether they're going away for a week or for a year, it hurts to watch your kids walk away from you.

xoxo

Kelli said...

This is the one thing I dread.

Kati goes to design school in just two and a half years. Far away.

At her age, I had been to Europe for three months, where I got really sick, and now I appreciate the feeling of helplessness my parents must have felt. Along with the pain of a $1000+ phone bill from those collect calls every day of the illness.

Right now it's the dread of watching her drive off alone in a car. To town. Not knowing if she is all right, or where she is. I fear the first time will kill me dead.

Thank you for confirming I'm not insane to feel this way.

Holly said...

I think it makes sense, I know my parents still worry about me, even though I'm 21 and more than able to look out for myself.

Feeling this way is definitely better than NOT feeling it though. :)

Dana~Are We There Yet? said...

With kids aged 5 months to 17, I have yet to experience what you're writing about here, but you put it so relatably that I can absolutely see myself in the driveway, the concourse, wherever...

I marvel that these 5 incredible people came out of me and the prospect of them having entire lives somewhere that I'm not...well...MOST of the time makes me very nostalgic...and occasionally it makes me sigh with relief, but only on days that include calls to Poison Control and/or the rigorous application of Simple Green to the walls, cabinets, wood blinds....

Jen said...

I still choke up when my mom leaves for Fl every year. I dont let her know this but when she is gone...i tear up and start counting those days until she returns fast. She comes home next Wednesday and I cannot wait....

Paulette said...

I have never had that relationship with a biological family but I tell you it does not matter if you have young children or adults that feeling in the pit of your stomach never changes. My kids are 18 and 23 and you never stop loving, caring or worrying about them, some days I think what the heck? Why am I still worying about them they are grown! It's called the love of a mother, young or older kid's we as mothers all fit the same mold!! I just have blessed freedom now, woo hoo.

Linda said...

No, no hope for it ever getting any better, and that's exactly the way it should be.
I'm glad you had that special time together making precious memories and binding your hearts even closer together.

Robin said...

Thank you Bev. Your healing words are balm to my raw and bleeding heart. My kids walked away through an airport this morning to go live in Peru. I'm reeling - but I will be okay. It just hurts so much.

secondofwett said...

Ah....know exactly how you're feeling....my eldest son lives abt 3 hours away and I see him maybe every 2-3 months normally but last Saturday he went to Germany for two weeks to do some studying for his PhD....he's 32 yrs old but I still find myself wondering how he's doin', so far away.....

Gretchen said...

At my mom's funeral, my Grandma summed it up, "54 years, and she was never out of my mind..."

I agree.

I think part of living life and loving fully is hurting terribly when those you love aren't with you. Doesn't matter if it makes sense. My feelings rarely do. :)

Crystal said...

You have captured it exactly! And it doesn't matter if they live 1/2 an hour or 12 hours away - I still tear up when they leave us. And seeing the grandchildren go is equally difficult. Thank you for writing about this.

It's been lovely to peruse your posts - I'll be back!