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Training Toby is moving!

Training Toby is moving to Terra Toby. Come and visit!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Degrees of Separation

It's been hectic around here since Christmas.

Besides the usual holiday season bustle there were more occasions than usual to spend quality time with the grandkids. Their father found out 3 weeks ago that he'd been chosen for a new position as an associate pastor and would need to relocate several hours away by today. His new job begins  tomorrow!

I'm so thankful for all of the quality AND quantity time we have spent with our grandchildren over the past three years while they lived 20 minutes away. I've been spoiled beyond measure in having all of our family in the area until this year. Since I retired a year ago there have been even more random hours and afternoons spent in the company of those little ones. Meanwhile their mother and I got used to our new roles and cemented a friendship as adults, not just mother-daughter.

(you just knew there was a 'but' coming, didn't you?)
…the fact is, today at 7 AM they all pulled out of the driveway in their old Ford Focus and a hole opened up in my heart. They stayed with us this week.  The chaos, noise, and extra alertness that is required served as a reminder of why people become parents while they are young, yet some of the sweetness of our own young parent years reverberated. I heard my husband use his goofy baby talk voice and watched him rock a baby girl to sleep again, and I thought of him doing that when he was slender and his hair was still red. I felt warm chubby legs around my waist and felt an active little boy relax into sleep in my lap. For a few days the bedrooms, dinner table, trash cans, bathrooms, and my heart were full.
Where did they go?
Today the house is silent except for the hum of the washing machine and dryer restoring the sheets and towels to clean piles in the linen closet. It doesn't really matter when we eat dinner or even what, or how much, there is to eat. We'll spend the evening reading or watching TV and it will be relaxing - and kind of boring. What really makes me want to cry again is realizing that next week there won't be any chance of saying, hey, I was just out running around, can I stop by for a minute?
This was what Toby did when he heard the grandkids' names.

I don't mean to be selfish about this. Ted and I tried to raise our children to be independent, self-reliant, productive adults. They are, though it's probably more in spite of than because of us . There's joy in watching them hit the milestones of adulthood - graduations,  the first jobs, marriages, first homes. When your own children become parents, though, and you see them struggle to come to grips with their own confusion about how to take on the greatest responsibility they will ever have, there's a peculiar mixture of empathy, pride, and love. I'm going to miss knowing about those struggles so intimately, because even in this age of technology, physical distance equates to a loss of the day-to-day knowing that comes from being together often.

When are they coming back?
Supposedly when the last kid leaves home, the parents are 'empty nesters' and are sad for awhile, then adjust and that's that. The truth is paradoxical. It's really nice not to worry about when (or where) dinner will be, to relax into a book or a movie in the evening with a glass of wine, to only wash one set of towels and sheets and be done, to spontaneously decide to drive to the beach or the store and be in the car five minutes later, and to sleep through the night with the prospect of coffee and the newspaper in the morning. It's also a stab of loss, a tearing of a new hole in the heart, every time the family separates and the distance in space and time grows again.


Molly The Wally said...

Sometimes quiet is nice and routine is blissful. Other time chaos is fun. We move with the groove if we are lucky. We too like it when we are back to normal. Have a tremendous Thursday.
Best wishes Molly

Mariodacat said...

M here - It's bitter sweet isn't it. It was good you spent a lot of time with them before they moved. The grandchildren will have special memories from that.

houndstooth said...

I'm sorry they're moving farther away, although that doesn't sound like an impossibly far distance, at least. We went through some family living rearrangements this summer, and it's hard. Those pangs hit you when you least expect it.

Kitties Blue said...

Thoughtful and touching post. Thanks for dropping by to meet us at The Cat on My Head. It's always nice making new friends. Purrs and hugs, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Jo

Vanessa Morgan said...

A beautiful, heart-felt post. Have a lovely Friday.

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