although it doesn’t feel like it

this weekend i was fortunate enough to talk with a mother whose one child lives on another continent and i got a little bitter and a little salve from her.

The bitter – it’s too soon for me to even tell how i feel about the moving out. This is like that holding a glass of water example. I’ve only been holding it for a few seconds so right now it feels the same. Abandoned furniture sits still in an empty room. This is going to be one of those sneaks-up-on-you fuckers, and i’ll get to it when i do – there is no timetable. 

The salve – the time to myself that i have been so desperate/sad/frustrated/angry/resentful for – that little bit of head space to think, time to meditate, concentrate, get lost in the song world; that time is here! All i have to do is stay grateful, in the moment, and take the doughnut…  (which is a tricky thing – because instead of enjoying the calm before the storm, i’ve been overeating like mad trying to pre-numb myself somehow…and then an invitation to a dark place lurks just there ——> only one little step and i can purge all the overeating – then i never have to choose – eat like a pig and purge myself clean again. for now i’m batting it away ok, but if it gets too close i’ll get help – promise – thanks for caring enough to worry about me – but the sharing of these thoughts is my only hope of not succumbing to them).

then i watched another mother daughter dynamic that had me really get a sharp focus on my last interaction with my daughter.

to set the scene – we’re at an event on a rooftop in braamfontein  – i’m currently hosting my husbands guests while he plays his set. She arrives and wants to dive into one of our just us in our pjs over coffee at the kitchen table kind of discussions (this is fucking amazing because how safe does she feel in our relationship to have our kitchen table right there in this very public place!?), which i cannot give my undivided attention. She fires the first round of – Oh so you don’t really care how it’s going with me. hmmmm! well *two thumbs up* great. **sarcasm** i cannot engage this because i spot another musician i was hoping to have a quick chat with, so i grab him as he’s passing and we dive right into it – small talk about each other’s recent events, a quick tour catch up – i get the telephone number i was after and wish him a belated happy birthday. Shake hands with *mumblesomthingresemblinganame and tracy and they’re off… i turn back to a sad face. She holds it in and excuses herself to go to the toilet.

When she returns she tells me that i left her feeling rejected. that she feels invisible.

fuck- i think – this is the chorus of my favourite feeling sorry for myself blues – i have been singing this song for a longlonglonglong time…no wonder she knows it so well. Which left me with nothing  more to say than i can see how you feel, i’m sorry i left you feeling that way. Thank you for showing me your feelings, i love you – i know it doesn’t feel like it right now.

i want to dwell on and punish myself for having hurt her, but that is a sure way to waste an opportunity to see that i’m blocking my daughter, and actually take responsibility for it. 

why is there not a book – “a mother’s guide to getting out of the young adult’s way” i need that book!

Our relationship is so full of places to get hooked, and trapped, and stuck instead of letting each other go gently. as i type the words letting each other go – my heart aches. There is no painless way to love and release someone. I would like to do this without anger though, without having to hate or hurt each other to take that distance.

blink and you’ll miss it

my child is leaving home.

Saturday.

as soon as i stopped living with my mom i knew i never wanted to live with her again. thinking about that hurts me now. because this time i’m “mom” so while i catch myself crying about this i am also really aware how important this step is. why she needs to take it, and how much i trust her with her autonomy.

will she drive drunk? Probably. god knows i did.

will she make some of the mistakes we’ve been subtly (and perhaps not so) warning her about for years? Yep.

these things don’t worry me. (too much all the time)

what worries me is that she will be struggling and just like me with my mom – she’ll be too stubborn/proud/determined to tell me about it. that she will try to hide heartbreaks from me.  i worry that the years of being confined to a mother/daughter relationship has left little room for us to be friends. i hope not. i hope she’ll save some time in the afternoon to catch a coffee or something at one of those trendy new eateries in town so i can listen to the unfolding story of her life – because that is what i’ll miss the most.

I have had an all access pass to the story of this life. I know exactly how hard she worked just to get earthside – i’m the only one who knows. i have been so lucky to have been there when she sat, stood, walked, talked, drew on the curtains with an Artline marker, cut her hair, when she met her brother, made mud prints on the wall, fell and broke her arm, as she nursed a dying puppy, broke things she’d need in rage, hurt herself. the deeper things i have watched her learn about herself are harder to put into words, but, i suddenly find myself access denied – looking down at the useless pass in my hand and feeling bittersweet. We did it. the best we could with what we had where we were. i love her. i hope she comes back to visit soon.