Are you kidding me?

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.

Crying.

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.

7 thoughts on “Are you kidding me?

  1. I’m a regular reader but I’ve never commented. I live in Portland, Oregon. Is her job near here? Although I’m retired now, I worked more than 30 years for the U. S. Forest Service and U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. I still have some contacts. If it would help you to have my phone number so you feel she has a friendly contact (lifeline) in the area, I would happily give it to you. When my 20-something son backpacked in New Zealand a couple of years ago, I found some peace of mind by having the phone number of a blogger who would help him if he needed a hand. Send me an e-mail and I’ll reply with any info you need.

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    1. Hi Jan — actually I think you did comment once when I mentioned our county’s bag tax. You told me to watch the Portlandia episode about bags. (I did and laughed!)

      Anyway, thanks for commenting now. I read it last night on my phone after I shut down my computer but it is much harder to comment as me on my phone than on the computer.

      Clare will be on the Olympic Peninsula — I will send you more details in an email. Thanks for the offer — having someone closer is a comfort.

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  2. Ah… I just realized, you read Mali — so you know how lucky I was to have her hold my hand as my son and his girlfriend navigated floods and earthquakes in New Zealand. Because she was so kind to me, I’m happy to pass it on to another mother dealing with letting go.

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  3. Jan/Dona, I’m happy to act as intermediary. (Dona I have Jan’s email and could send to you if you want).

    Dona, obviously I can’t quite understand this from your perspective. And like you, I took off to Thailand for a year when I was 17 (and had never been out of NZ or away from home for any length of time). I would have been off to university in a year anyway, and then would never have lived at home again, so didn’t think it was a big deal. You’ve made me think that in ways I stole a year from my mother! Still – I’m glad you’re proud of what you’re doing. And by letting her go, you know she’ll come back.

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    1. Thanks Mali — things actually look brighter this morning. If Jan used her real email address in the comment box, I have it.

      As for letter writing — I am so out of practice with letters and Clare has rarely, if ever, written them. Of course I will try, and perhaps she will too. I used to be a very good letter writer with pen friends all over the place — UK and US. And the travel time for the letters won’t be a week to ten days like it was between the US and UK in late 1970s. As you said on FB — it is possible the letter writing could lead to something good.

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