I just said good-bye to my heart brothers. Henry and Oliver are off to Switzerland with their father, and while I'm excited for them I also feel -- well -- unhinged. I cried a bit after they left, certain that my life means nearly nothing when they're not around. I wondered what the hell I'd do when they leave for real one day, and I cried a bit harder for my lost identity. I wish I could say this was mostly dramatics or even hyperbole, except that it's sort of, kind of not. I mean, it's the truth. Who am I without these people? Sophie and I sat in the very quiet kitchen, and I fed her some beans and rice. I ate some whole grain crackers that I've recently become addicted to, spread with a thick layer of butter. I might have eaten 1/3rd of a stick of butter, but maybe that's hyperbole. I also ate a tomato from my garden like an apple and sprinkled crazy salt over it before each bite. I sipped some red wine that's been sitting on my counter since my last book salon. I'm not a big drinker, but I figure a tiny buzz might cut the angst a bit. In less than 24 hours, I went from feeling nearly orgasmic with joy and freedom (not hyperbole) after a sunset swim in the Pacific to feeling bereft and abandoned (ok, hyperbole).
Here are some pictures from the weekend.
I was in San Diego County with Henry, attending a lacrosse tournament. When he took off with his buddies for the whole day yesterday, I lay on the hotel bed wondering what the hell I was going to do with myself, but eventually I got up and walked miles, went shopping and bought myself a funky outfit and then went down to the beach in my bathing suit and actually went into the water and swam for at least a half an hour. I submerged myself -- dove into waves and paddled around -- and then dried off, sat on a towel and watched the sun set.
Here I am coming out of the water:
Sorry. That was another woman. That woman lives in the Caribbean Ocean and walks out of it occasionally. She has no idea what's coming around the corner. Tell her to turn around and dive back in!
Here I am:
And here's the sun setting over the glorious Pacific ocean:
Well, if this doesn't sort of sum up life I don't know what does.ReplyDelete
We parent so totally and completely it is normal to feel unhinged when they leave.ReplyDelete
You still have at least two more years with Oliver. And then we can have lunch!!!! Kidding.ReplyDelete
I get this. I never thought I'd be one of "those" women, who live for/through their children. But when they both went on their ways, I realized that it's unavoidable to merge your life with theirs, if you really give yourself to the calling of parenthood. It's a helluva big job to become unselfish enough to really give, in a balanced way, as a parent. It's another challenge, hurdle, transition - whatever you want to call it - to find yourself again, when the day-to-day job is done. And that's not even mentioning the pressure those changes put on any marriage. I'm working at all of it now. Sending love, as always. XOReplyDelete
I get this. There's no hyperbole here. Bereft and abandoned. That's exactly how it feels. But in time you arrive at a new way of being in the world. Still. That sweet childhood phase is gone and that feels like real loss. It's good to mourn it. Good for you for taking yourself swimming. It's a good start! The boys will be home soon.ReplyDelete
Who are we without them? We're who we were before them, only different.ReplyDelete
Love the little drive-thru espresso joint! Hopefully your sense of loss over Henry and Oliver's departure will return to something akin to a feeling of freedom, at least intermittently. The feelings will come and go, I'm sure! (And remind yourself of these bereft feelings after they've come home and strewn their rooms with dirty socks and whatnot!)ReplyDelete
Dear Caribbean Ocean You, you will be loved beyond belief. You will change the lives of so many people with the love that you return and the words you tap onto a screen will zing around the world and those words will change lives too.ReplyDelete
God, I get it. This post made me cry a little this morning--with recognition both of the feeling having your children-heart so far away and of how beautiful your words are.ReplyDelete
Love those sunset photos, they go so well with all the feelings your post stirs up :o) Sending love and strengthReplyDelete
I love that you got out of the hotel room and made a day of it. And the beach! Glorious!ReplyDelete
My ex-husband used to take my tiny little daughter for trips with his family after we split up. The first was Christmas when she was TWO YEARS OLD. I thought I was going to die. I feel your pain, Elizabeth. I know those questions, too. And the good answer is: you're going to be who you are, and you're going to have wonderful man children who continue to delight you with their adult lives. And they get to watch their mama go through her changes, too. And have great conversations about it all.