Thursday, July 11, 2013

Loosing the Mother Knot

I dream that I am a weathervane spinning according to the vagaries of the wind.

They don't need me anymore. Yet they do. It's all so confusing. I despair. I exult. I have no idea how to make a graceful exit from this, the job I've held longer than any other in my life.

I slap together lunches. I drive them to friends' houses.  Sometimes I drive one and a friend to a movie or camp.  During such trips I stay silent so they may share whispered giggles and confidences.  I used to make conversation, until I was asked, ever so politely, to stop.

At home I fold laundry, wash dishes, make appointments (braces on, braces off). I dream of Greece. I am barely tethered.  I read a lot.  Greece is still too far away.  Perhaps in five years' time.

I wonder if anyone wants to come with me to the library. (No.) To the grocery store. (No.) I bribe, with dessert out.  Sometimes this works.  More often it doesn't.  I don't know what to do with myself.  I feel that I ought at least to occupy shared space with them.  What if...?

I take long baths.

One afternoon I bring up the possibility of a board game.  They decline, with detestable sympathy in their eyes and voices.

I am disappearing.  Eyes closed, I make more sandwiches.  This I can do.  This they appreciate.

The knots come untied, one by one.

  


11 comments:

Emily said...

From what I gather, the more you give them space now, the sooner they come back.

Stu said...

I was primary caregiver for my kids - My oldest is going to start his junior year in college, my youngest graduated high school this year, heading off to college in the fall. With that as my perspective, I say this: It's awful. Like I'm adrift. But it does get better, in that I've gotten used to it, even accepted it. And that, my friend, is the key. The sooner you accept it, the sooner you embrace the echoing sadness, the better it becomes. -- And now, the unasked-for advice: For the sake of the kids, look at them with pride. Be happy for their adventures on their own, as they explore their world on their own terms. The happier you are for them, the less you judge their experiments and the more you treat them with respect, the more likely they will talk to you about their world, the more likely they will be comfortable with hanging out with you.

De said...

Heck, I find myself at loose ends when the dog is at the groomers for the morning. I don't know if I can define the quality of the emptiness, so I understand your bewilderment. The only offering I have for your predicament is this: visualize what you'd like your adult relationship with them to be. This role has lasted barely more than a decade and a half. God willing, the next will last more than twice that.

lifeineden said...

We are at such opposite ends of this spectrum. Me, ready to be freed of their needs, wants, demands -- yearning to be done with board games and crafts. You, wondering of their need for you (which by the way is there, whether you or they realize it).

But this is motherhood, and it brings us together. May we both have many more years to keep muddling through.

Elizabeth Dahl said...

There is that stage where they resent the dependency that use to be security. They do cast off and untie at a frightening pace. They discard things we know that they will later miss and need. The adult relationship is much more of a choice and of their design and that is what makes it lasting. I am in the middle of all of this with 3 20 somethings. I am finding bits of my old self while waiting for the Mom relationship to re-evolve. I miss the daily-ness of each of them. Heart felt words, Sarah. Thank you.

josetteplank.com said...

Yes. Yes. And yes. Thank you, yes.

V-Grrrl @ Compost Studios said...

I vacillate constantly. I worry about them; I don't worry about them. I think I should be stricter and then I'm glad I'm a fairly liberal parents. I think I'm smart for letting them go and then I think I'm stupid for not reining them in or hovering more. I dread the day they'll leave and then I can't wait for it. It's a hard time. Parenting teenagers is intense, the way parenting toddlers was. And in the middle of it all, I wonder about what's on the other side for me, for my husband, for us as a couple. sigh.

Anonymous said...

Mother nature is kind in the end.

But now? Oy. They need you and do not want you...humor helps, wine, too....

Linda

alejna said...

It feels so strange for me to read this from my view. Am I getting a glimpse into my own future? With two young children, I sometimes feel like I am being smothered in their needs and wants. Yet I also treasure these moments (at least when I am not fantasizing about running off to a hermit cave) since I know they will go fast.

InTheFastLane said...

And then suddenly, they still need you. But differently. I'm watching my oldest fly off to college this fall. And she doesn't want and she doesn't need. And then, she does. A weird mix of letting them go and pushing them forward. And re-inventing ourselves.

Sarahviz said...

I know I am not ready for this yet. I also know that I will be experiencing what you are experiencing in the blink of an eye. The minutes drag, but the years fly.