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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Born Lucky


In their early teens, my daughter and her five best girl friends from grade school used to wander around the Upper West Side, window shopping and laughing and sometimes stopping to ride a quarter-driven hobby horse like the one in this photo. My girl is old enough to vote now, and will do so in the next election. This photo of the horse, unattended except by the gumball machines, strikes me as an apt metaphor for the ephemeral nature of childhood.

Will it always be this way? I miss my children before they even leave. My son was here last weekend, and the morning of the day he was supposed to leave to go back to college, I awoke with my heart tender and sore. Today I ache from missing my daughter, who's going away with friends for spring break in Mexico next week. She hasn't even left yet. The girl is going to college, for heaven's sake. She's spending summer in some woods as a camp counselor. She is leaving home. Following her brother out into the world. God, please keep them safe.

I have loved every second of raising my children, even those moments that were so very hard. My husband whispers to me these days. He says, This is what's supposed to happen. This is how it's supposed to work if you're lucky. And we are.



21 comments:

  1. You are lucky. And it is still hard. Sending love.

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  2. Stephanie is completely right.
    But let me tell you- they never really leave. They need you always. I swear. My life is proof of that. And they will be, if not exactly in eyeshot forever, within arm's reach.
    True.
    That photo is perfect, by the way.

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    1. Ms. Moon, I trust you implicitly. I'm hanging on those words.

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  3. Oh my heart. This year's spring break my sophomore man-child decided to spend the week out of town with his girlfriend's family. The first time he's never hung out with us. I know we're so lucky too, but it doesn't always soothe that tender and sore heart. Sigh.

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    1. Kathleen, on the other hand, I suppose it's easier to tend a sore heart if one is also cognizant of being blessed. Hugs, friend.

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  4. I know. I just know. THat photo is so perfect, it made me cry.

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    1. Elizabeth, thanks for being here in this place, in my life.

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  5. I just love that second photo too. Riding horse and gumball machine outside a store that sells liquor. Something for everyone!
    I think I might die the first time my kids asked to go away like that. I'm looking to you for answers. Hopefully you get it right.
    Take care.
    m.

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    1. Mark, haha, you would notice that! that is so common in New York I don't even think about it. And did you notice the horse is chained to the door so no one will walk off with it? I let my kids wander in New York and then worry about them in other places. Go figure. But please pray I get it right, because I am quietly frantic as all get out right now. why does it never get easier? It's me. Not reality. I know this. Love.

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  6. Angella, a week on a Mexican beach sounds much safer to me than perusing shop windows in NY. All three of my children travelled the world between school and university. They took at least a year off each, and returned wiser and more rounded. Cutting the apron strings happens to all of us; it's hard, but we have to let them go. Best wishes from France, Cro.

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  7. Hi Cro, welcome! Don't mind me. I know, I sound like a wimp. I'm not really. Even though I process my very noisy brain here, i do let them go. If you've been reading here, you will know that both my kids have travelled on their own quite widely at this point, despite my very active imagination about the world, and yes, they do come back richer and more open and confident. yes, it's always hard for me to wave them on, but i manage to do it. No choice really. Fly, they must. Thanks for commenting!

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    1. Great to meet up with you again. I've only just come back to you, so must have missed a lot. I am now not only a parent, but also a grandparent... life is wonderful. Good to be back; I've joined the fold!

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  8. Sorry, I am just catching up and I see that your boy has already gone back. I completely understand this. I can't tell you how hard this year has been for me and I still have my youngest at home. Not that they are interchangeable! Just that I still have one to keep me busy here!

    When my oldest boy moved to NYC almost 2 years ago, it was really hard on all of us, but when my daughter left for NYU in September, I thought I was going to die. My baby girl. In Manhattan. It hasn't really gotten any easier, I miss her like crazy.

    Roots and Wings, right?
    You've done a great job Mama!

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    1. R. Mom, you understand, I can tell. When I talk about missing my children here, I just brace myself and assume it will sound like whining, and i do it anyway because its a kind of therapy to set it down. But your comment, "I thought I was going to die," tells me you really do know. Of course we wont die, it's not literal. But there is definitely something that comes unmoored, necessarily so, but still not easy. Thank you. Hugs.

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  9. Angella,

    I don't have children but grew up with a mother who often acted as though she could not wait for the time when I would leave home...

    To cut a long story short, I began my forays into the adult world as a teen and have never looked back because I knew that there was no going home again for me. My uni was three thousand miles from the small country where I grew up. It wasn't until after she passed away that I learned my mother confessed to a friend that she stayed in what had been my room for hours after my flight departed, playing my music and crying...I'll never know what she was thinking because she is no longer around to ask, but I wish now that she had said at least once that she missed me. It might have made a difference.

    Your children are indeed lucky.

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    1. dear e, it makes me sad that your mom never conveyed how hard it was to let you go. Maybe knowing how much she cared about you can still make a difference. Because she did miss you. Oh, she did. Hugs, friend.

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  10. They don't ever really 'leave' as Mary says but things change. And then they change again when they have their own children. One of the luckiest things you talk about is also a husband who whispers encouragement. And you deserve every second of it. Perfect picture. love d

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    1. deirdre, you know, one of the reasons I am right now seeing doctors for the first time in a decade, getting all my checkups and trying to secure my health, is I want to be around the see my children's children. you, mary, dishwasher, my own mother, you all tell me that it is the ultimate thrill and joy. well, i'm not rushing things, not at all, but i do plan to see that day. love you, d. xo

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  11. My goodness. Now that just sucked the wind straight out of my chest.

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    1. Gradydoc, enjoy these years with your boys. As you already know so well, they are a grand and beloved adventure!

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