Whither my little girls have gone?

I’m on the road today, somewhere in Iowa, on my way to a five day intensive writing workshop with Margie Lawson, having a “deluxe continental breakfast.” Not really sure what continent it might be from, but the coffee is fabulous.

But the topic of conversation on the TODAY show overhead is whether mothers and daughters can be best friends. They interview a set who are, at the same time the experts are horrified and gasping “no! No!”

This is a subject I’ve been thinking about for awhile. Not about being best friends with my daughters, but my relationship with them. As I’ve said before, most of my girls packed up and bailed for parts unknown. M picked the Navy, traveled the world, met The One, has a lovely family now living in Florida and soon to take off for foreign parts, if she has her way. B lives 2500 miles away in Nevada. K moved to North Carolina. (D is still in town, but she’s so busy we hardly see each other!) It’s hard to stay close from that distance.  They have their own lives. Mother isn’t part of it.

I asked M recently if she’d done it on purpose, moved away to exclude me. She laughed and called me a “silly mom” and assured me it wasn’t like that.

So many people I know in our small town live here forever. As do their parents. Children. Brothers. Sisters. Cousins. Even the ones once removed. Big family parties, cookouts, so on.  I see B doing this with her new family, and I’m glad she has the support.

So am I wishing they were too frightened of the “big world outside” to leave to stay home near me? Of course not. Maybe I’ve just done my job and sent them out, free and secure, to fly on their own, like any good mother bird.

At the same time, I resent only seeing them once every year or two. I wish they were close so we could do things together, so I wouldn’t worry when they had hard times, so I could pop over with a pot roast when I knew they needed it.

Mary Quigley quotes Jonas Salk like this:

Good parents give their children roots and wings. Roots to know where home is, wings to fly away and exercise what’s been taught them. — Jonas Salk

She makes some good points in her piece on adult children. It’s certainly not my intention to become a helicopter parent. I hate flying, for one. But I have grandchildren I hardly know, and all three of these girls are just slipping away in the passage of time. None of us knows how much time might be allotted to us. We might say, “Oh, someday we’ll…” but we don’t know whether we’ll ever get that chance.

Meantime, I suppose, I should be grateful they’re flying so successfully. If they don’t need me then I’ve done my job, right? It makes sense. But sometimes it just doesn’t satisfy my heart.

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6 thoughts on “Whither my little girls have gone?

  1. Just so you know….. we ALWAYS need our momma’s. No matter how near or far! Hope this makes you feel at least a little better. Good luck with the writing workshop (although I don’t think you need much help) but most of all, have fun!

  2. Well, you raised us to be independent… so, I’m going to blame you. 😉 Although to be fair, you are the first person I call when I’m in trouble.

  3. It is impressive that your girls are so successful and independent. I moved away for a while, but once I had a family it felt right to move back. Sometimes we just have to go explore and see what else is out there. You did a great job mama!!!

  4. I think it is the way of the children these days to do this. It seems to be a more mobile society. I am also in the same place with 3 out of 4 of my children out of state, La. and CO. One grandchild, who turned 1 today, is out in CO. and 2 WERE in La. & MS. It is soooo hard to not see them on important dates, as well as day to day. I do not have this yet, but I think what would help us is the cell phones that have cheaper costs if more family members have the same ones. Computers help me a lot with pics being posted a lot. THAT is the secret tho’ having them post the pics. I print them out and then I have my instant pic in a frame. We didn’t have as much stimulation from machines growing up and maybe that may have something to do with it. Always looking for something new and exciting. I do want to say that my oldest daughter, A, and my third child, T, are communicating with me a lot now using the 2 ways, phone and computer. I just can’t wait until I have my own plane to fly so I can go anywhere I want. Oh yeah, I guess I need a license, huh? I am proud of all of them and feel I did the best I could raising them. THAT’S ALL FOLKS

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