Just when you think it’s safe to smile…

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?

13 thoughts on “Just when you think it’s safe to smile…

  1. Avitable

    Now you’ll just have to travel up there more frequently. Your mom will be happy too.

    Why can’t you go up there for every birthday and holiday? You totally can. And if he’s making more money, they can come down to see you frequently too.

    It’ll be ok. 🙂

  2. MB

    It sucks but you’ll learn how to show your love through the miles. It will be hard but you’ll work out a system where you can visit and vice versa. You and your daughter will have to get web cams so you can see those kids as they grow and you can be more than a photograph to them.

  3. BettyB

    I know it feels like loosing them forever now. It comes so out of the blue, so unexpected. For now you only feel the loss. Ofcourse you do.
    I hope, in time, that you will experience the bond you WILL have with them. You are such a great grandmother, with such an enormous love for your family, it will no doubt be felt no matter how far they all will live. You will be present.
    Though I am absolutely convinced it will all turn ok in the future (I do not say allright, I know it is totally different!), I do feel so sorry for you. Keep courage! XOXO

  4. Shelli

    I’m so sorry, CP. Oh my God. I know how you must feel. Like someone sucked the air out of the room, kicked you in the gut and stabbed you in the chest all at the same time. I’m a grandma, too, and, even though my daughter and I don’t exactly see eye to eye, I would die if she took her daughter far away. We see here nearly every day when she comes here after school. She usually sleeps overnight at least weekly. They don’t take care of her and are mean to her and my heart would break if I didn’t think she could get love and TLC at least a little bit. So, I can understand completely.

    The only solace I can offer is that I have had friends in similar situations–both live in Minnesota and one’s daughter and grandchildren live in Montana and the others’ son and grand daughter live in Utah–they both use Skype all the time, if not daily. It does really help. The ones who live in Utah uploads photos to Flickr almost daily and then my friend looks at them and picks the ones she wants and prints them out at her local pharmacy. I know it’s not the same. But it helps a little, I think.

    I’m sorry. If you need to talk, well, I think you know where to find me–gmail, gtalk, Facebook, Twitter–I’m all over the web. 😉

  5. household6

    I have to say I think I know how you’re feeling. Mine wasn’t out of the blue. I knew that eventually I’d have to leave my daughter and granddaughter. But this past November when we left them, I thought I was dying. My granddaughter is 3, my daughter is 26. She called me earlier this week to tell me she was pregnant again — by the way, when I think I’m too young to be a grandmother of two, I think of your blog and remember I’m in good cmopany — anyway, I totally know how you feel. I really think I do. It’s heart breaking. I can tell you though that the phone calls stay the same — or at least mine have w/my daughter. And she’s been my everything since I had her when I was 15.

  6. boston_gyrl_34

    Awww, you just made me cry with this post. My heart breaks for you. I know my mother and I can fight like crazy women but you are absolutely right about the mother/daughter bond and I can’t imagine living that far away from her. There are no good words to say but I do hope you will both find new and inventive ways to stay close and to ensure that those 2 adorable babies know how wonderful their grandmother is!

  7. J R Estelle

    Although not a mom, this breaks my heart, but I have a feeling that the phone calls won’t ever stop between you and your daughter. I found this on the internet and I hope you the words bring you great comfort. As I now see in my own mother, being a mom is a wonderfully heartbreaking lifetime job.

    A Mother’s Love

    A Mother’s love is something
    that no on can explain,
    It is made of deep devotion
    and of sacrifice and pain,
    It is endless and unselfish
    and enduring come what may
    For nothing can destroy it
    or take that love away . . .
    It is patient and forgiving
    when all others are forsaking,
    And it never fails or falters
    even though the heart is breaking . . .
    It believes beyond believing
    when the world around condemns,
    And it glows with all the beauty
    of the rarest, brightest gems . . .
    It is far beyond defining,
    it defies all explanation,
    And it still remains a secret
    like the mysteries of creation . . .
    A many splendoured miracle
    man cannot understand
    And another wondrous evidence
    of God’s tender guiding hand.

  8. Startup Wife

    Hi–I just found your blog. Your writing is beautiful–so honest.

    I’m so sorry to hear that. This is a crappy comparison, but my best friend recently moved to Lebanon, and I definitely know all those fears of–how will we keep in touch, what if you move on without me, etc. I can’t imagine how much harder it is when it’s your daughter and when you have young grandchildren. Even if you love her and want the best for her, it’s still completely natural to feel devastated, and to grieve a loss. Hugs to you!


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