My oldest left for camp today. Two weeks. It seems like a lifetime this afternoon. The truth is, I enjoy living with, and spending time with my kids. When they're not here, I miss them. I hate when my older two go to their dad's every other weekend. I miss their smiles, their arguments, their questions, their hugs, their bodies sprawled on the couch.
I think I am going to be in big trouble with they move out. At 12, my oldest is already moving into the world in larger increments - more overnights with friends, more activities, a week gone here, a couple weeks there, coming up with her own ideas, becoming more and more independent with cooking, laundry, thinking, doing. My heart aches at the idea of not seeing her for 14 days, but I know that she is excited, and ready to do a week of extreme hiking, rock climbing, and whitewater rafting. Who is this bright and confident young woman? I see my face in hers, but she is so clearly separate from me. She is brave, and well-spoken, ready to take on the world, but has the nickname "Mom" because of her responsibility and respect for (most) rules, and especially her championing for the underdog.
My ex-husband says she's me with tools I never had.
I wonder what my mother feels in her solitude. She lost me early - at 15. I never came back, and we have gone years at a time without speaking. We spent the 3 years between 12 and 15 arguing and fighting and tossing the coin between love and hate - or at least I did. I can't imagine that relationship between my children and I. We have so much love between all of us. Of course, we are human and yell and say things we don't mean, and get angry...but we know that we are loved.
I still don't know what my mother felt or feels - did she miss me when I was gone? Did she even notice? She didn't do anything to get me back - and I can't imagine that either. I haven't given much thought to what she might have been feeling or feels now - but as my own children grow up and away, faster and faster, I wonder what I will fill my days with when they are gone. I wonder how much we will be in each other's lives - it will never be this intense and close again.
Is it like my relationship with spirit? Our love will continue to be present, without the physical body? Of course it will...but I have to remember to enjoy every minute, every second, because it will never be like this again.
My 18 mo. old daughter has learned the word "no" and this has demarcated her from the rest of the family. She is no longer an infant - nursing for all of her nutrition, needing to be carried everywhere. Just like the 12 yo, she is moving into the world- walking, running, climbing, seeking, learning, talking, becoming her own individual. In a blink of an eye, she will be 12, and then 18 and then 25. Who will I become between now and then? Who will I be when she is 35 and I am old? Where will our connections lie?
What connections are there between me at 35 and my mother at 72? Pain, disappointment, resignation. Orphaned, both of us. She by her children and us by her. I never want to be that - I have spent my life in not being that person, and my quest for spirit is so much about that - and also to understand those who are lonely and angry and offer them solace. To understand what else is there that is admirable and lovable.
My mother is my spiritual practice - to break myself upon her walls - to love her faults, to find her virtues, to mold myself against and with her. I wonder if that's how my children will see themselves...how will they define themselves against their parents?