Have you ever been confused by your actions?
The issue is that my heart wants something and I’m not making it happen. For many months I have been confused by this behavior. I’m someone who makes things happen.
If I set out to get a certain job, I get that job. If I set out to get an education or certification or training, I get it done. In my career, I was direct, focused and goal oriented.
Health problems and aging have given me a more passive lifestyle. I’m a grandmother many times over. Some of that energy that I spent at mothering has paid off. The grandkids are all fantastic and a pleasure to be with.
Christmas with Cadence 2007
When I was being a mother, my own mother was close by. I made sure of that. She was the one I had to go home to when my third pregnancy came true. I wanted to be near the woman who loved me unconditionally and never judged me.
We finally moved within a few acres; my 8- and 9-year-old boys could walk to her place without a guardian. It was my mother’s wisdom that would inform my decisions as a mother. She was a loving woman who seemed preternaturally wise. In retrospect, I probably thought her wise because she always accepted me.
As our lives progressed, we all changed. My mother exhibited codependency issues and my sons were getting old enough to hang out with their uncle and learn about getting high on pot. It was not amusing. All the love that I had showered on mother became secondary. We just weren’t on the same page. I had to move on. I leaned on her mercilessly in the process. I often felt entitled, in retrospect, I was brutal to my mother.
And Then it all changed
My mother remained my north star; being like her was the ultimate accomplishment. And then she died. Just like that, she was gone. She wasn’t one to go to a doctor’s appointment, so when she had a heart attack it was a full-on surprise. We had no idea. She did. About a month prior to her hospitalization, she called and asked if she could move up and live with me in Tampa, I told her I needed a bit of time to settle. It just never occurred to me that she was suffering in any way. She was suffering and never told anyone. As loved as she was, she lived a lonely life.
I was completely devastated. I counted on her to help me through my recent separation from my husband (how selfish I was!). She was gone, so completely gone. I spent most of my time crying. My daughters say that I came home from work and went to my bedroom to cry. For months and months I journaled my pain. I was desolate.
And there it is. I blamed her, why didn’t she separate herself from me? I needed her and she let me. How could she leave me at such an important time? It was more than I could bear. The darkness was almost unlivable.
So here is the confusion; why aren’t we living the dream close to our many, many grandchildren? We are far away, at least an hour of travel time from the majority of the kids. I haven’t lived close by anyone for more than ten years. We started out very close, but that was twelve years ago and since then, not at all. I have missed everything about being with the kids and with their children. Of course we travel for special occasions and such, but it is basically the special occasion type of grandparenting, not the type that my mother did with us.
Why can’t I get there? One, because I don’t want my kids grieving me the way that I grieved my mother. It was awful, I can’t wish that on anyone. (Look at me trying to control my kids’ feelings at this late date?)
The second issue, and this is my vanity, why don’t my kids want to be with me as I wanted to be with my mom? It hurts.
On this Mother’s Day, I got double pranked by my subconscious. I’m okay with living far away from my children and grandchildren because 1. I’m afraid of giving them unreasonable grief when I die and 2. They clearly don’t need me as much as I needed my mom.
I love each and every one of them as if my soul depends on them to be near.