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Monday, February 20, 2012

Compass

Since the beginning of the year, I have watched in full:

Homeland
Breaking Bad
Downton Abbey

Each one has immersed me in another world, and I'm a little disoriented coming back to myself, leaving my new found dream life behind. I'm moving on now to Friday Night Lights. Lots of brain noise these days. It seems to be affecting my ability to write here.

The girl I love is away working at winter camp this weekend. The boy I love, having decided to forgo that alcohol soaked college rite in Ft. Lauderdale, is considering staying in his college town and working during spring break. He has an incentive to save as his girl is a plane ride away in England.

There is a loneliness that comes with your children leaving home, even for rehearsals as my friend Isabella calls these little leave takings. I feel the particular sort of lonely that I knew in my twenties, except now I am standing still and staring it in the face, not running away as I did back then. How fascinating to realize that the absolute absorbtion of raising children can so effectively hold that loneliness at bay. It's back now. My old friend.

I don't think men admit this loss the way women do. I could be wrong, but everywhere I look, mothers are reeling from missing their now grown babies, they are collapsing silently under the weight of it, while fathers appear to just keep on keeping on, as if everything is still the same. It's a generalization, of course. It doesn't always play out this way. But from what I can see, it often does. Maybe it has its uses. When I stumble these days, I look at my husband, stoic and pressing on and I set my compass, knowing there's no way around it, I have to do that, too.

Here is a photo of me the year I got married. I was 29. This recently unearthed image was part of my mom's 90th birthday slide show. I wish I'd appreciated myself more back then.

And here is a Hipstamatic shot my girl took of us in December. This is me now. Life giveth. Life taketh. Life moves us on. That's just how it goes. I'm not mad at it. I'm steeped in love.






34 comments:

  1. You were such a gorgeous 29 year old! But you look the same. No wrinkles, great skin. Lucky you!

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    1. oh hon, i could run down the ways in which this is the kind view, but i wont because in 20 more years i will wonder why i wasn't kinder to myself now and it is what it is, i am who i am and maybe i can be a better version of who i am but its a work in progress, that's for sure. hugs, dear friend.

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  2. Sigh, what are we going to do with us??? What you said here is exactly what I have been feeling so much of lately. Maybe when we were in our twenties, we knew that we would go on to give birth to babies and that is what distracted us from ourselves for so long...so very long. Yes, let's hold hands as we journey through this next, very scary, doorway. I don't know any more than you do, what the next step on this adventure will be, but I do know that we cannot get through it all alone. Holding you up from where I stand, dear friend. And yes, you were absolutely gorgeous then, but you are so beautiful now and when I look at pictures of your mom, I know that you will be beautiful 20 years from now.

    So much love and big hugs,
    Deb

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    1. Debra, some days are so darn hard. And then some days I can see very clearly that it's all going to be okay. The natural order is for them to leave, right? we have to let them go. i keep repeating that in the quiet of my heart. They are ready. Much love to you, my fellow traveler. And happy birthday to your girl!

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  3. I always appreciated my gifts when I was younger - this means that I knew I was young and tried to grab it, remember the moments, my energy, the possibilities, all of it - but now that I am older I'm not sure that was important. I mean I am glad I loved being young but it doesn't change the now. At least, I don't think it does. Now is now. Ups and downs. And although I am past my heyday in terms of looks I am thriving in so many other ways.

    Anyway, I want to start on Downton Abbey too.

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    1. Gary, I think you will be fascinated and absorbed by Downton Abbey on so many levels. It is very lushly filmed, for one thing. The sets alone. And there are some very witty lines of dialogue. And some heart. Try it. Let me know what you think.

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  4. Baby- you'll get through it. There ARE rewards to having them up and out of the house and flying (as your children so beautifully do because of the wings you've given them) into the skies of their new lives.
    There are rewards. The emptiness fills with other things. New things. Things for YOU. Trust me on this. This is a time for you to be asking, "What if?"

    And trust me in that you are very, very beautiful now and will never not be so.

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    1. Dear Mary, or Maria Luna as I also think of you! I love your take. I embrace it with my full arms and heart and breath. I will come back and read this comment whenever I need to remember. Yes. Oh yes.

      Love to you.

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  5. Maybe it was because I had six kids spread out over so many years that when the last finally flew away, I felt more relief than emptiness. I can identify with the loneliness coming back the way it was when I was 20. but that's not the same either because I'm not really alone. what you had inside in your 20's that you said slipped away didn't (unless you were thinking of a career in ballet) it's is still there. And you can take the time to find it and do with it what you will.

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    1. Kristin, six kids! my hat is off to you! patience has never been my strong suit, but you are right, i can take my time discovering what comes next, and finding the excitement in whatever that turns out to be.

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  6. Replies
    1. dottie kee, you are kind. you have kind eyes.

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  7. I don't want to dread the day that my boys are out and gone, but I do. I will always have Sophie with me, God willing, but that's, of course, different. I know that you will weather through this -- you are so strong and soulful and contemplative. The photo of you, young, is gogeous, but that second photo is the illuminated one -- your eyes and hers. Wow.

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    1. Elizabeth, i love that second photo too. That first photo, who is she? I can barely remember her. Is that sad?

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  8. Oh my. Gasping at this. But they take you everywhere with them. Didn't you know?

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    1. grady doc, lucky them, i will allow them to take me figuratively and not try to follow them literally!

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  9. I never knew until many years later how much my mom missed me when I left the nest. She got quite depressed actually. She managed to make it through to when I turned 25 and had my son. She was over the moon in love and so happy. She used to come over every day she did not have to work and help me. She had my son and she had me back. I love those days and I miss them and her terrible. My beautiful mom. She loved so much.
    My kids are not 14 and 16 and my chest aches at the thought of their leaving. I have told them since they were small that my job as a mom is to teach them how to live without me. I say that but have never really believed it. I need my mom now more than ever.
    I don't know if mom's feel it more. My guess is yes, we do. We still are the main nurturers and caregivers. I think mom's just have more tender hearts. That said, my fiancé raised his two daughters on his own after the courts gave him full custody and guardianship over his daughters. (There mom wasn't a very nice person.) His girls are now grown and living in a different province and I know his heart aches for them. And yet, a mother's heart...oh it can hurt.

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    1. Birdie, i have heard that grandchildren are even better than your own kids, because you have your own kids back without the fearsome responsibility of having to raise them right. And I am sure your finance aches for his girls. i am generalizing unforgivably and dont even know if i believe what i wrote. maybe i was just talking about me and my husband. he seems to be fine, but i know he must miss them, too. maybe he is just emotionally healthier than i am!

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  10. Oh yes, it's hard, especially when they go really far away. But they come back eventually, if not in person sleeping upstairs until way past lunch, they come back with adult wisdom and childhood memories that will warm your heart like nothing before. My 29 year old daughter, who is across several oceans and time zones from here, in one of many skype calls yesterday told me how she balances her moral compass, something I tried to explain to her when she was 16...

    BTW, I recommend Boss with Kelsey Grammer when you are through with Friday Night Lights.

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    1. Sabine, thank you for this assurance. It's something rich to look forward to! xo

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  11. I'm missing my children already and they're years away from leaving the house. I'm going to be a total basket case once they all move on. So yes, you're generalizing.
    Love that photo that you daughter took. so much love there!
    We only watched three seasons of Breakbad. We haven't watched more because those seasons were free on Netflix. We're cheap like that. But I really miss it. I tried Sons of Anarchy and Weeds and didn't care for them. Have you tried Walking Dead? Yes, it's about Zombies but it pretty good. And of course, you must watch Damages. m.

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    1. Dear Mark, what do I know? I am generalizing for sure. I hope for your sake you manage better than I am at the moment, or that Fred is a stoic as my man is, because it helps me act as if...

      then again, you might be more like kristin with her six kids. see she doesn't fit my generalizations either. you have four kids. that was smart, right there. by the time they leave you may be exhausted!

      I will have to try Damages. A couple of people have suggested it!

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  12. I remember when my former boss' daughters moved away to college, she was quite shaken. I didn't quite understand, and I suspect I still don't, since I'm not a parent. (I also think you're right that women tend to feel this change more intensely than men.) Just remember they're still there for you, even from a distance, and you'll continue to be a crucial part of their lives. Right?

    I love the pic of you at 29! Isn't it great to stumble across old pictures like that?

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    1. Hi Steve, my son is getting ready to head to your side of the world again soon! Wouldnt it be funny if he ended up living there! i love old photos, too.

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  13. Yes, I know what you mean. It's also hard when the kids move far away and have kids of their own. Then you miss the kids AND the grandkids! :(
    Sending love, my friend ~

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    1. Gabriele, well that's something i hadn't thought of. i guess i'll just cross the bridges in the here and now and keep my fingers crossed my grandbabies live close by! love to you, friend.

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  14. Beautiful pics Angella....
    I remember that empty sort of lost feeling.....it does get easier.
    Love, yo

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    1. Yolie, thank you for that. I believe you. Love.

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  15. with all the buzz i feel compelled to start watching downtown abbey....but i need to start with episode 1, season 1...my guilty watching pleasure so far this year are the first two seasons of justified (which em picked up and brought over).... talk about another world! yikes!!

    hugs....

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    1. Hi mouse! if you watch downton abbey DEFINITELY start with season 1, episode 1. you won't have the same investment in the characters if you start with season 2. at least thats what i think. enjoy!

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  16. Gorgeous pictures, both. I tell my girls they better appreciate their beautiful and young bodies and not wait to look back wistfully at the pictures. But we all know that is the way life happens. I do think men miss the kids just as much but don't know how to show it. Ya know, all that stiff upper lip thing. I know my husband is a huge softy about the kids but he doesn't like me to catch him with tears in his eyes so I pretend not to notice and let the lump in his throat slip away gently too.

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    1. Dear Kathleen, i agree. that's why i said i dont think men ADMIT the loss as we do. not that they dont feel it. i think they do, and perhaps it may be even harder having to pretend so hard. it can be a luxury to cry sometimes. Love the photo you posted today! xo

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  17. Beautiful photos, beautiful post. I am on the cusp of my oldest leaving, reeling daily from the changes as they grow and morph and need me less and less. I immersed myself so much into the role of mother, I fear the withdrawal will be severe. I forget who I am anymore. I look at those old pictures of me with wonder - who was she and where did she go? It's been the grandest journey, and I wouldn't trade it, but I wish I had remembered to tend to me just a little in there somewhere, so there's something ready to sprout and grow when my kids go out into the world. I guess I'll do what I've always done - figure it out as I go along.
    Your children, and you, are very Beautiful. You've done quite a fine job.

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    1. Dear Mel, I would say your experience of motherhood has mirrored mine is every regard, from the grandness of the journey in which we immersed ourselves to the need to have tended to myself just a bit more. i can tell you know just where i am right now. I do feel, though, that we will make it up as we go, and we will be find, and even be wonderfully surprised by the new shape of our lives. Thank you for the kind words about my kids. They are good kids. I hope they'll make their way just fine in the world. As we will. Love to you.

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