Tuesday, December 15, 2015
One constant is change.
Checking in after year and half! Wow! How did THAT happen? I went to dig up an old post and realized so much dust has collected here while life marches on. But I miss writing. It's so therapeutic. I went through so much in this year and half. My daughter left for college last fall after a normal but tumultuous summer. It really wrecked me to have her leave so abruptly and then be so independent once she had left. I think it made her more homesick to talk with us too. My son and I went to visit her within a month to bring her keyboard to her and I could see she was still a child in the throes of freedom but so exhausted. It was comforting to see her but it didn't help much. I wanted to bring her back with me and give her chicken noodle soup and lots of hugs. She mentioned she isn't sure she could have made it had we not come and that is not like her to say! Fierce and independent. It gave her the excuse to stop for a moment and catch her breath. It gave her the space she needed to collapse and sleep and that's largely what she did for the weekend in our hotel room. I washed her clothes at a laundromat and was happy to help her in any way. The BFA program she was in was very rigorous much like a conservatory and certainly like graduate school. It reminded me of my husbands masters and doctorate program which is daunting for an 18 year old. Most of the other "freshman" were in their 20's as well. If you wanted to have SOME free time or fun... sleep was optional. We went again this time with my husband for "family weekend" a few weeks later, trekking the 450 miles one way. We had many plans to check out a beautiful state park few hours away and shopping and hiking but she was exhausted once again. So, we were content for a small simple birthday celebration for my husband and her Daddy at restaurant of her choosing inviting her new boyfriend along as well. That was largely the extent of our excursions save a quick trip to thrift store and department store for few of her needs and pit stop to her favorite coffee shop. She showed us library where she worked and it was evident she was exhausted. Back at the hotel I encouraged her to rest her head a bit and she was out on her Dad's shoulder within minutes. Independence is hard work! Who needs sleep! Back home, I was still adjusting to the super quiet house as my boys are very much home bodies and she is always going a mile a minute. She's my go to for a concert or a play or any shopping any time! I've heard you go through a grieving process and that's understatement of the year. I didn't even grieve that much when my Dad passed away! I suppose as a Mom you grieve many things when it's first child leaving and not just the child not being at home. How it seems I was just holding their hands for a walk. How she used to burst into the car after school and share every last detail of the drama that had unfolded while you talked it out together. How she rarely had interest in boys but once she had one she fell hard and fast and he was the one she now shared everything with. How you once didn't annoy her at all! These things seep in on the quiet nights. But Pride seeps in too. We raise our children to be independent after all do we not? I tried to talk myself into this many nights. I've never been a crier and it used to frustrate me to no end. I want a good cry I'd think to myself. Well, in just a few months I made up for years of not crying in one sad movie or death of my father or so many other sad changes or news given to me. It was if the flood gates opened up. Energetically we are just very woven together she and I. It has always been this way with her and I. She's very different from me and I celebrate that but perhaps she resents that but there is a Ying and a Yang with us so I think in some respects her being gone felt like unfinished business to work that all out. One constant in life is of course, Change. But it's the very subtle change that occasionally grasps and rattles you a bit. Those teen years do that. Small independence and freedom given bit by bit and then suddenly they are able to live all on their own just like that. She came back for Christmas and it began to be unclear whether she would continue in the program she was in. Constant physical exhaustion is no way to live! She finished out the year but it became more and more evident as the issues began to mount beyond the exhaustion. Yet to see her become cum laud and handle it all with amazing Grace really filled our hearts with pride. She did it all on her own and it's time for the change that allows for her to go be free. She is home now with us until Spring and this has given me exceptional time with her that I will be forever grateful for. I would have never expected it either so with it came the lesson that we never know what's in store but we must trust and be present of all good things. Our time with her living here is short as is our time with our son who is a senior and awaiting word at his college choices. But I grieve this change less now and look forward for the transitions it brings and allows. I'm grateful my Mom is still with us. Now living in a Memory care unit. That took a great deal of grieving and acceptance as well. That's certainly been the theme of this past year, year and half. I no longer try to understand it and I just relish the time I have with her. I have worked hard not only to naturally heal of my anxieties from my father's death and her illness but also to remove all guilt of what has unfolded for her and certainly for time I am able to go see her. It is difficult to go see her now when she is unable to speak normal and coherent sentences but I still find the essence of her every time. I know we can speak without words. With our eyes and our smile and our hugs. I am grateful she is in the same town with me. I'm grateful she is in a wonderful facility that provides great food and care. And I'm grateful she is still here on earth. This mutes all grief. And so in this time of advent we know at any moment something magical can occur and something jarring can occur. Change. Sometimes it is swift and sometimes it is a slow unfoldment. I have come to believe that its the seemingly "normal" period in between where the real transformation happens. Don't look back with melancholy or regret. Don't spend all your days planning ahead. It is best to grab a floatie and just take deep breaths and allow what's to come to come all the while being present to all that is around us. Meanwhile, great leader has emerged on the U.S. political front so I'll be posting to bring you up to date with this important development in the coming weeks. Can you guess who it is? Blessed be you and yours.