Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Musings

I haven’t mused in a while, but with the New Year here, I thought it an appropriate time to start up again, but oh what to muse about – there are so many things – our trip to Europe and laughter and lost luggage, the puppies that are about to turn one, or the reason why I haven’t been musing?

Basically I’ve been busy. So busy. I took a pottery class and made new friends. I took Ezzie to dog training. I did Physical Therapy way too much trying to get my herniated disc under control. I’ve been doing other kinds of writing. I focused on my classes and my students. I drove carpool and laughed with Ellie. I hung out with Matt more. And I watched Ellie mature at warp speed now that Maggie is away at college.

Oh, that’s right – Maggie’s away. That’s what hit me last night as I said good night to Ellie after we celebrated Maggie’s 19th birthday and tears welled up in Ellie’s eyes as she told me how many friends she’s lost over the past years through our church, neighborhood and family. Way too many family members have died and too many people have moved away, and then Ellie said, “and Maggie left.”

I stood by her door, nodded my head, said I was sorry and walked away. I knew if I listened anymore, I’d start to cry too and I had worked so hard all fall to keep those tears at bay. I wasn’t going to let them in now.

But when I went to sleep later, they found their way to me anyway. With Maggie home, her absence is even more obvious. I know she’s going to leave again. And honestly I’m glad.

She’s so happy. I love telling anyone who asks after her. She loves her school, her classes and field hockey. She’s made friends, and she and her boyfriend have maintained a healthy long-distance relationship. What more could I ask for?

But my family construct is different and it’s going to keep changing.

I heard from so many friends during the holidays that just reinforced how we mothers (and I guess fathers too, but I don’t really talk to them as much) feel the loss of our children forever. One friend emailed me and said, “See that wasn’t so long was it?” about Maggie’s return from college. Then she went on to say that she’s finding it harder now her children are older, out of college, as they’re really developing separate lives. Yahoo, I thought, something to look forward to.

Another friend put her son, freshly out of college, on a plane to visit a friend in the Midwest and emailed how hard it was to let him leave again, “but friends make it easier,” she wrote. Another raved about how her puppy (one of ours) was hopping through the snow like a bunny but her son had to leave right after Christmas because he was working now and her daughter had a boyfriend, all of which were good, but made for less time with her. She was glad for her volunteer work.

The irony is our children are doing what we did. I remember my dorm rooms and my first apartment (in the basement with the mice). I felt so grown up. They were my spaces. I made decisions about when to eat, where to eat, what to do and with whom and didn’t have to check in with anyone. And, our children are doing what we want them to do. It took a lot of work and a lot of time but we did it – they’re independent, self-sufficient. They left us. Yeah us!!

But I miss Maggie. I miss the way our family used to be. So I stay busy to make sure I won’t wallow in self-pity. That’s why I haven’t been musing.

And guess what, I’ve signed up for another pottery class. Ezzie’s nowhere close to being done with dog training. I have curtains and a quilt to finish and my herniated disc is still causing me pain but my insurance is done with PT, so I’m back to my regular health club. Ellie and I will start up carpool again next week, and I have lots of writing projects and two new classes starting up. And I have my friends. I’ll be just fine.

Happy New Year.