Monday, January 19, 2015

The other side of the world


I woke up sad. I had this heavy feeling in my chest area and the sense that life was spinning away from me again. My daughter heads back to school this morning, and my son told us over dinner last night (at a nice restaurant, just the four of us) that he plans to move to Australia at the end of this year. He told us the date. My daughter asked if he had already bought his ticket and he said no; evidently they have talked about it some. I was stunned. He insisted he had told me, but I would have remembered something like that. What I do recall is several months ago when a coworker who was originally from Australia moved back home, he said in passing that he might go and visit. She had been a regional manager at the sports club where he works, and she liked his work ethic. She said she could easily get him a job if he came to Australia. Maybe he said he would work there for a year. I don't recall. Maybe I simply didn't take it in. In any case, since then it has become more real in his mind, and all I can think is Australia is on the other side of the world, and if he ever needed me, how would I get to him? Do parents ever stop thinking like this?

He is frustrated that the FDNY recruitment isn't moving along; his EMT application has been in for five months now and when he called to check two weeks ago, they told him that they wouldn't be scoring the candidates and putting out the list for another six months. He then asked when the next hiring exam was for the FDNY, thinking he'd try and get on as a firefighter instead of as an EMT/paramedic. They told him they wouldn't be offering the exam again until 2017 (the last one was in 2012). He came home that night and told us all this, looking discouraged. He said, "Why am I waiting around?" He mentioned enlisting in the army and becoming an army medic, and I shuddered, but he said nothing about moving to the other side of the world.

It must be so hard to be 23 and waiting for your life to start. And to be working so hard while you wait. He works seven days a week at two jobs; one is a full time staff job at the sports club, and the other is as a track and field coach at a high school in the city, which not incidentally won the league championship last year, his first year coaching them. All his friends are working equally as hard, and maybe he feels like he's on the wheel, going, going, going but not really loving his life. And he wants to see the world.

I am trying to wrap my mind around the idea of Australia. The thought that came right after he told me was, Okay, we're going to have some airfares. Better plan for that. The next thought was, What if he settles there and marries and my grandchildren are so far away? And the one after that, I always did want to visit New Zealand. 

My husband took that photo of us a few nights ago. We had just come back from the gym and had all flopped on the bed. It occurs to me now that it's sort of ridiculous to allow something so far off in the future and not yet real to completely hijack one's mood.


19 comments:

  1. He's not gone yet...Time will tell...You also live away from your own Mom but do get to her when needed...He is merely following in the family tradition and wanting to strike out on his own. Hugs.

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  2. My daughter is leaving today to go back to school too. My son left on Saturday. I feel your sadness, and I would feel the same way if any of my three kids told me they were going to move across the world. I don't think we ever stop thinking and worrying about them. I think about moving to a different state and can't budge because I think about them and can't leave them behind, but I know they will eventually be leaving me to live their own lives.

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  3. Why do our children do things like this to us? I did it to my own mother and spend time worrying that means my children will do it to me. Something in the future that isn't here now, and I worry about it anyway, even though it's silly, as you say. Maybe your boy will change his mind. If he doesn't, maybe you'll get to see New Zealand. I don't know, Angella. I wish you some comfort.

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  4. Well, quite frankly, I would be totally freaked out too.
    Of my four kids, three have moved away for awhile. Not as far as Australia but too far to jump in the car and go meet for lunch. And it was hard for me. BUT, they all came home.
    We have to let these birds fly. And yet...it is the hardest thing there is. And you did it too. And so did I. And so it goes. And however it works out, it WILL work out and somehow be fine.
    (I hear that New Zealand is the most beautiful place in the world.)

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  5. I know this will be hard when it happens to me (and I fully expect it to happen to me!), but I can't help but feel excited by your son's desire to go on such an adventure. The life he's leading right now DOES sound grueling and to be so grueling at so young an age -- I don't know. Plus, if he goes to Australia or New Zealand, you'll get to visit and you'll probably fly through Los Angeles, and, and, and.....

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  6. Do parents ever stop thinking like this? no. Oh Angella this made me cringe in my deep heart places.
    xo

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  7. oh, angella..i feel for you. this mothering/parenting bizness never ends..the ache and the anxiety never end. i talked with my son this weekend...he told me he is having a lot of stress and headaches. i hate that he is going through what he's going though (work pressures; relationship issues) and i cant do anything at all except be glad that he called to talk. that's it; that's all we can do. they'll call us when they need us--otherwise, these birds need to fly. doesnt mean we have to like it. and that we dont feel that bottomless hole in our gut. xo

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  8. A taste for adventure combined with a desire to help people. Fine qualities.

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  9. I get it. I totally get it. I want to live in a family compound. We'd all like that, my grown children and me. How to accomplish it with the jobs and all is the question. Living close is a dream I'm chasing. But when they live far, it is a chance for travel.......

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  10. We need our chickadees as close to the nest as possible. My family has lived in the same community for 160 years and I am sad to think that they will have to go away to school and to find work. You have every right to be down and it would hijack my mood as well. Let's hope he finds work close by.

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  11. Sounds like it could be exciting for him, although it is far away. This is the time to explore, when he can. And when you and your husband are young enough to go visit. You just never know what's coming along. I think it beats joining the army.

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  12. Dakota leaves for Puerto Rico in March to go on tour with his band and I feel the same way. ( hugs for us )

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  13. Australia. Wow. Hang in there sis. Can't say that if I were his age and were in the same situation that I would not jump at the same opportunity. Excited for him, feeling for you and praying for all.

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  14. Well it's certainly natural to be apprehensive about a move like that! But a lot can happen between now and then, and not to trample your son's ambitions, but I wonder if getting permission to work in Australia will really be as easy as he thinks. I can sympathize with his desire to see the world, though. And maybe you can think of this as an opportunity -- a good reason to visit Australia (and New Zealand, though it's not that close) yourself!

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  15. I say more power to him...sounds like he is pretty much at a standstill here. He may find out the grass is not greener on the other side or he may love it....at least he will have tried.

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  16. My dear friend, this is hard but it will be good!!!

    My daughter has been travelling and living abroad for ever it seems and she is presently - though hopefully not for good - happy in NZ, which is certainly the most distant place apart from the south pole. Mind you NZ is easier on this mother than Laos or Usbekistan.

    You will soon begin to admire and eventually love his spirit of adventure, you will become addicted to skype and develop your own version of jetlag due to the time difference and you will look up all the nooks and crannies in his part of Australia on google earth. You may start watching Australian tv shows online, try out Australian recipes ate home and read Australian newspapers and bloggers. And maybe, you will go and visit, imagine!

    The world is his and our homeland and humanity is his and our family - just make sure he has decent health insurance cover.

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  17. I feel it. That hollow feeling in the pit of your stomach.....it's fear mostly. Who says you have to let go of your children?!! Are they mad? My baby girl will be moving soon and only a few hours away but I feel it. The threads that connect us grow longer and looser. There is nothing for it but to focus on this moment.
    xxoo

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  18. I can feel your pain, a mother's pain. Jeez. I would tie him up and keep him at home every night and every weekend so you can spend as much time as possible drinking him up....every last drop you can get your hands on...yours eyes on...your ears on....every last drop! I hate this. Sigh.

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