16 April, 2009

adult children

The clock is ticking. Monday is departure day. My daughter returns, my son takes off and the celebrations continue. We make mental notes to ourselves: last time here, last trip to there, last stop at this place, last English tea here. And it's all sweet and silly because it's not really sad. He's eager to leave, nervous, but longing to get out into the world and this is perhaps the next "best" thing to joining the Navy or the Coast Guard. You don't even have to think about killing someone, or defending yourself. It's just you and the Atlantic Ocean and the sky. And, of course, the rest of the crew. The un answered question is: How do we say good-bye?  It's a little different each time. Each time is a little easier and more confident. More trusting of the process, like learning to walk. Each time a little farther into the unknown, a little more demanding, requiring a bit more commitment and effort. A bit more time, money, patience. And each time I breathe a sigh of relief. There is the ambiguous sensation of wanting the separation yet loving the closeness. The unconditional love of motherhood mixed with the desire for grandchildren, which would take us to a whole new level of relationship. I listen to my friends, with their new grand babies, working through their adult children's fears and expectations. It appears that many of us start parenthood wanting a perfect, pain-free, disappointment-free environment for our babies. We don't want them eating dirt, playing in the mud, falling, scraping, bleeding and breaking bones. Eating out of the dog dish, throwing things in the toilet and fishing them out. But that is how they learn, how we learn...and we have to go with it. Letting our unrealistic expectations die. I am reminded of this each day and the universe shatters my unrealistic ideas every way imaginable. Just when I have convinced myself intellectually to release some useless, out-dated attitude or belief, I come face to face with the physical application.  A kind of instantaneous pop quiz. I haven't gotten a perfect score, but I feel like I'm getting closer. Recovering from domestic violence happens one day at a time for me, maybe I'm just a slow learner. Maybe I just like to take my time, and do it right, Fred Roger's famous advice. I'm not really too interested in why it's not different for me than it is, I'm going to assume that what ever it is, it is just right for me and go with it. Slowly.

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