I called my daughter tonight for an informal chit-chat and she informed me that while she’s working in the Pacific Northwest this summer/fall she will have no cell phone and very little Internet access. Also that there will be one pay phone she can use but will need a phone card. This pay phone does not take incoming calls. Oh, and plus she may be staying in the area after her work gig just to hang out.
So basically, for all intents and purposes, she will be cut off from me for four months except for the U.S. Postal Mail. Does that even work anymore?
That call ended over two hours ago. What have I been doing in the meantime?
You guessed it.
This feels worse than dropping her off at college. I thought that after four years apart we’d get to spend some time together before she went on her way to being a grownup.
During my bout of self-pity (which it was because I am not worried about Clare in the least — she is going to have a blast) I recalled that in December of 1978 I flew to England to student teach for about 4 months. Did I think about those I was leaving behind? Nope. Did I worry that my Mom couldn’t contact me easily? Not a chance.
I am so proud of Clare for what she’s doing this summer/fall — flying across the country to work in an area she loves (or thinks she loves) with no one she’s ever met before. But I am also so sad that this is the end of our extended periods of time together. Unless she moves back home (which I doubt she will) at some point, we won’t have leisurely weeks to just hang out — to go to the mall or to the tea shop or out to lunch. We won’t be able to sit and watch movies together at night for nights on end.
When someone starts a family she doesn’t think about the letting go. She thinks about the baby and toddler and child for whom she will care for years to come. She rarely thinks about the time her child says “Bye Mom, thanks for all the love.” Tonight when I was crying I thought I wanted to run out and shout at the first pregnant woman I saw and tell her that her child would leave her someday. But of course I wouldn’t do that. And of course she’d think I was a crazy woman.
I know that there are mothers that say goodbye to their children forever and I know I am being silly and shortsighted about Clare’s 4-month stint in no-cell-or-internet-land. I am allowed to feel sad and wish I could Grey Garden it up as Dean so eloquently put it tonight when he heard me boo-hooing.
On this side of it, 4 months seems like forever. And who knows what is on the other side of that 4 months.