Note: This post was actually written Monday! I only thought it posted… At any rate, I just re-read it and realized just how down I was when I wrote the words. It’s now Wednesday morning and life, emotions, and everything else is back to normal.
I’m struggling today. I believe myself to be a strong person – emotionally, mentally, and spiritually anyway. Physically, not so much. Pickle jars often send me tearing through the house in search of my husband’s hands.
Today, I feel as emotionally weak as a tight lid makes my hands feel.
My firstborn daughter, Emily, was married this weekend and I’m incredibly proud of her, I’m unspeakably happy for her, and I’m head-over-heels crazy about her new husband. He’s a sweetheart and has felt like family since the first day he came into the house. The boy is straight up “larger than life” and I couldn’t be happier that he’s in our life.
So why the lack of strength today? Well, I just said the words: The house. Too darn quiet!
While my husband and I still have two beautiful daughters who are almost always here with their own boyfriends and while we have a great number of precious cats, there is now something missing.
Since we first brought this blue-eyed girl home from the hospital, she’s been one of my very best friends, companions, and partners in crime. We’ve always been more than mother and daughter – we’re kindred spirits in every sense of the word.
Emily and I drink the same drinks (coffee – and lots of it, green tea, hot chocolate – she hasn’t jumped on my Rice Milk bandwagon yet), love the same foods, laugh at the same jokes (especially when we’re in the middle of telling it), eat at the same restaurants, and watch the same shows (Survivor, The Biggest Loser, UK Basketball, and other sports). We both over tip, shop too much, and love to walk. We hate racism, violence, anger, and desperately wish we could feed, clothe, hug, and adopt every lonely child in the world.
And boy do we love to laugh. I guess that’s why each one of us married such clowns! At the wedding, we happened to be laughing at another family clown (my youngest daughter Stephany’s boyfriend) and one of Emily’s co-workers told her, “Awww, you have your mother’s laugh.”
My brain knows that Emily and Dill (my new clown-in-law) now live just minutes away (7 if my husband drives, 4 if I drive). My brain also knows that she’ll be here most nights for supper because cooking is one area we aren’t the least bit alike in – I love to cook and Emily has absolutely no use for the sport whatsoever.
She’ll also be here each night one of our shows is on. I make the snacks, we watch the show, and then we re-live what happened. Ironically, we almost always have the same favorite contestants on Survivor, The Biggest Loser, etc. Recently, when Coach Jimmy Johnson was voted off of Survivor, we both started grumbling at the remaining contestants. One of us cursed them to losing ALL future challenges while the other hoped they starved. I won’t say which. It was funny because I don’t think either one of us realized how much the other one liked him.
My husband and youngest daughter didn’t seem to mind his exit as much. At least they didn’t wish starvation or humiliation on anyone.
My brain also knows that Emily and I will be in constant contact – we text like crazy! All of our shopping outings, restaurant visits, and Starbucks trips will remain the same.
Realistically, I “get” all of that. But…. well… it was lonely at the coffee maker this morning.
Okay, I’m going to make it through this – just like all parents do when their children have the audacity to grow up. We just keep going forward, keep looking in front of us, and try to keep a smile firmly on our face.
For their sake.
At the wedding, I felt tears welling up but thought of Emily. It would have made her sad to see me with tears in my eyes, so I summoned up the strength to swallow the lump in my throat and dry the tears before they ever fell. 2 seconds later, she looked at me and smiled when she saw me smiling at her. She was such a beautiful bride. She has been beautiful every step of the way, though. Beautiful baby, beautiful toddler, beautiful teen-ager, and now, a beautiful young lady.
Who am I kidding? She’s still my baby and she always will be. If she didn’t already know that, she knew it when I handed her a glass of punch at the reception and told her not to spill it on her dress. I told her I wished I had a sippy cup for her and she said she wished I did too.
I’m afraid that this post is sounding sadder than I intended for it to sound. I’m actually not sad right now as I sit here drinking coffee and ferociously typing away. I’ve been thinking about Monday Night Football snacks, playing with a few of my cats, and trying to catch up on work. I’m so behind on my blogs and e-mail that it makes my head spin.
I do just want to say this: I know (from e-mail and comments on this site) that a lot of parents are going through this transitional phase right now, too. You simply can’t love your children with every breath in your body and not miss them when they step out into the world on their own.
Just keep reminding yourself that they’re taking a very large part of you with them. Your words, your love, your addiction to coffee, your taste in music. You’re as vital to them now as ever. You will forever be their safety net – a place where they know (no matter how tough or ugly the world gets), they have a place they can go to feel nothing but safe and nothing but loved. A place where they’re always as golden as the sun and as welcome as rain on an August afternoon. A place where the cares of the world disappear, coffee is always brewing, and the best seat in the house is their’s for the taking. A place where it’s always the right time for dessert – and, ironically, they can always find their favorite on the menu (funny how that happens). They always have a place that makes the world feel as safe and wonderful as it did when they were six.