Letting Go, A Mother’s Quest

10 Apr
by Deanne

People often ask me if I am having a hard time since my daughter is moving to England.

Since the question is usually asked by a mother, I am sensitive to the fact that it is not really about me and how I am doing, but about the mother asking the question…no doubt, she is acutely aware that her child will leave at some point and she’s imagining how difficult it would/will be to have her child move very far away.

Yes, it is a fact of life that our children leave. In reality, it does bring tears to my eyes. The tears, however, are full of all kinds of emotions, sometimes sad and sometimes welling with peace and hope.

Like most parents, the letting go began when I dropped her off for her first day of kindergarten.

The leaving progressed to waving goodbye as she rode a bus to summer camp and then in high school took planes two separate summers to two far off lands: El Salvador and Romania for volunteer service trips.

A particularly hard good bye was only about 40 miles away from our home on a late August afternoon when she settled into very urban neighborhood in North Philly during her college years. Driving away from a part of town that I did not even want to return to was frightening. I did return and learned to be comfortable. I visited the inner city school where she worked as a reading tutor and sat on her front stoop. To be honest Francine’s wanderings and yearnings have pushed me to grow in ways I didn’t intend or ever even imagine.

The next departure was a happy one when she left for Finland to be an au pair. She was living her dream and truly on her own after college. Dad, brother and I drove her to the Newark Airport and watched her walk confidently down a long corridor on the other side of security.

Each time she left, she came back. It was a given that we would see her again.

By far, the saddest departure was oA photo in the airportn Mother’s Day 2009 when for reasons both of us didn’t really understand and discuss at the time, she felt estranged from us, and left for Vietnam and China. My heart didn’t know if she was coming back and I sensed that she was in some kind of nameless pain. However, my job is not to make my child happy or to solve her inner turmoil. My job is to let go and trust that she will find her way. There was not a day that she wandered away from my thoughts, but I did trust that she would find peace.

When she came back she was in love. I silently watched her joy and anticipation as she planned a trip to India to be with her new love. That was an exciting year because we got to meet Scott when he came to visit us. We too found we had a fondness for this particular Englishman. In March 2011, she left for China again to teach and be with Scott.

Since September, Francine has been with us and we have truly enjoyed tapping into her talents to help us at our family restaurant. We’ve laughed and cried through the ups and downs of waiting for her next adventure to begin. On Sunday the time finally came to watch her make her way through security, this time the departure was the Minneapolis airport and the destination was her new home in England.

Am I sad? No doubt. Am I proud? Surely. Am I full of peace and hope….YES!

Are there any other mothers out there who have felt the same way?  Any mothers anticipating a letting go?

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8 Responses to “Letting Go, A Mother’s Quest”

  1. Corrine April 10, 2012 at 8:02 pm #

    Dear Deanne, so beautifully written and expressed! Yes, it is hard to let go… how about the day after your wedding (’79) in Idaho…I stood and waved goodbye trying to hold back the tears, as you and Steve drove away to your new home at Iowa State Univ. Overcome with emotion I knew in my heart it was time to let go. I was confident in both of you and I trusted your judgements and decisions… I have always been so proud of you both. And the day your brother moved from ID to CA to start his new life. It was tough! ….but it was time to trust and love and let go… and he too has made me proud. But that is what life is all about… raising our children to be strong and confident and able to make wise decisions on their own, and then let them “fly away”… but that doesn’t make it any easier.
    My Mother taught me that, “Life is loving, trusting and letting go.” You have carried that on so well. Love from Mom

    • realocalcooking April 10, 2012 at 8:11 pm #

      Yes, these kind of lesson do come from somewhere. My learning came from you Mom. Thanks for letting me go and trusting me to make my way in the world.

  2. Julie April 10, 2012 at 9:00 pm #

    HI! It was so nice meeting you on Saturday! We enjoyed another delicious meal.

    I can so empathize with you. My son lives in Los Angeles. He’s been there for 7 years. We see each other once or twice a year. I am so proud of the man he has become and the life he has made. I know he wouldn’t be happy if he had stayed in the midwest. I cherish our time together!!

    I look forward to reading about Francine’s new life!

    • realocalcooking April 11, 2012 at 9:35 am #

      Yes, they really do need to find their own way in the world.

  3. Mary Jane April 10, 2012 at 10:11 pm #

    There are two things you give your children, one is roots the other is wings. You and Steve have done a great job. I to am grateful I got to spend time helping her fix her headpiece for her wedding and spend time with her. Thanks for sharing her. love, grandma mary

    • realocalcooking April 11, 2012 at 9:37 am #

      She will be beautiful thanks to your help! Also, she will have such fond memories of the time you two spent creating the headpiece and quilting while she was here.

  4. Rachel April 11, 2012 at 2:49 pm #

    This is so sweet. Francine has been all over since our Temple days, and it’s definitely hard to keep up with her- but luckily she’s got a knack for story-telling & picture-taking so we all get to experience a little bit of it alongside her. She’s lucky you guys have been so supportive of her travels and not held her back, but watch her go with smiles on your faces (maybe a few tears too..). I can’t wait to hear about her next adventures.

    • realocalcooking April 11, 2012 at 3:52 pm #

      Hi Rachel,

      I forgot to mention the trip you two took to Mexico. That was a joyful good-bye. It is great that you two had a chance to travel to together and practice your language skills. I too look forward to what she has to tell us about England. I have enjoyed reading your blog about your house in the city.

      Deanne

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