something happens that just knocks the wind out of your sails.
Four hours ago, I was the happiest woman alive. My husband is home from California. My son is here. My daughter stopped by to visit with my two beautiful grandchildren. We laughed, had dinner together as a family; something we haven’t been able to do much of since my daughter moved to her own home a few months ago.
I remember the absolute angst that I felt the day she moved out of my home with her husband and her daughter. Sure, they were only moving one town away, but never in 22 years have my daughter and I not lived under the same roof. When she left, the house dynamic changed. It lost a lot of life. My daughter is my shining star and that beautiful little girl she brought into my life only made my daughter that much more of an indelible force in my world. Now we are both mothers, together. Just another bond that keeps us close. Yes, I have an amazing son. He’s bright, funny and a really good kid. I love him like mad. But, ask most mothers and usually they can all agree on one thing:
The bond you have with your daughter is like no other.
So, imagine my surprise, when after dinner my daughter informs me that her husband is getting a promotion. A big promotion. One that means they are going to have to relocate.
To New York. New York. 1200 miles away.
It might as well be another planet.
I drew in a breath as though I had been kicked in the gut. Things in my body that I never knew existed started to ache. Pain. Pain that I have not felt before in my life literally surged through me. My baby girl is leaving me in Florida while she and her family move to New York. Her family. MY family. My grandbabies. My precious, beautiful grandbabies are no longer a fifteen minute drive away. There will be no more cuddling on demand. No more kisses goodnight. No more picking up my granddaughter from daycare, watching with absolute joy as she runs towards me with her arms outstretched, reaching for me.
And my grandson. Dear God, my grandson. Not even two weeks old yet. He will never know me from anything other than a photograph. I will be a stranger to him when I go to visit. I’ll miss Liam’s first words. His first steps. His first everything.
I won’t be there for Sadie’s first day of pre-school. Dance recitals.
My head is absolutely reeling right now. I feel numb, dead inside. I am walking around like a zombie. I can’t wrap my head around the fact that my children are going to be in New York while I am in Florida. I can’t fathom it.
And there’s not a damn thing I can do about it. Nothing.
I thought that in my 42 years on this planet, that I have experienced heartbreak. I was wrong. Nothing has felt like this. Not even the loss of my son 14 years ago felt like this. Does that sound melodramatic? Perhaps to some, it might. But right now, I feel like I am losing my daughter. Losing her. Losing Sadie. Losing Liam. They won’t be here for holidays. For birthdays. She will not just “drop by” after work anymore. Our entire mother/daughter experience will rely on phone calls and emails. They will probably come rapid fire at first…and then, with time, they will probably whittle down to weekly. She will be busy with her babies and her husband making their new life in New York. She won’t have time for dear old mom anymore.
My grandchildren won’t know me. I’ll be a photograph hanging from a refrigerator magnet, just like my mother is on mine.
My first knee jerk reaction was to tell her how selfish this was. How can you take my babies away from me? How can you just leave like that after living in my home with your husband for three years? I felt betrayed. I felt used. And then, I felt the anger turn to pain. Then, pain into sorrow.
I want the best for my daughter and her husband. I want them to have opportunities that my husband and I have not had. What parent doesn’t want better for their children? I apologized to her for my initial reaction. I told her it came from a place of fear, not anger. The fear that I was being left behind. They don’t need me anymore. They are branching out on their own, leaving the proverbial nest. I should feel some joy knowing that I have prepared her well for this…but all I can feel is sadness.
Watching my granddaughter playing in my living room tonight was painful. I won’t have this anymore. Liam was curled up in his baby bouncer. Sadie came over to him and patted his head gently. She gave him a kiss. She said “Hi Baby” and then threw her arms around me for a big hug.
And I just broke down in hysterics. Literally heaving sobs.
My babies are leaving me and I don’t know what to do. I simply don’t know what to do. How can I just stand here and watch them leave?
My daughter. My first born. My heart and soul.
I don’t even have the words to tie this post up into a neat little package. My world completely flipped upside down in the course of an hour.
How do you say goodbye to the very thing that makes you want to live?