Friday, October 24, 2008

The Pull of the Moon


"I am fifty years old. The time of losses is upon me. Maybe that's it. I don't know. I saw Kotex in the drugstore the other day and began to weep. Then I saw a mother with a very little girl, helping her pick out crayons, and this, too, undid me. I had to leave without buying what I came for. I drove home and I thought about Ruthie standing next to me as I lay on the couch one day. She was two and a half, holding Legos in the basket of her hands. I had a mild case of the flu; I was mostly just exhausted. And Ruthie dropped the Legos on me and used my chest to build a small city and I was perfectly happy. I think I even knew it. It was that Chines thing, that when your mind is in your heart, you are happy.

You know, Martin, when Ruthie was a freshman in high school, I was driving home from the grocery store one day and listening to the radio and I all of a sudden realized that in flour years she would be gone. And I felt like screaming. Not because I have nothing else in my life. Just because she would be gone. I pulled over and I wept so hard the car was shaking, and then I repaired my makeup in the rearview mirror, and then I cam home and made dinner and I never said a thing about it, although maybe I should have. Maybe I should have started telling you then. I was afraid,, I thinnk, that you would say, "Well, she'll visit," and the feeling would have been all of my eggs being walked on by boots."
~ Elizabeth Berg, Pull of the Moon


Yesterday I was driving home from work and I passed by a house on the corner which was completely decorated for Halloween. Bats and witches hanging from the rafters, pumpkins on the front porch, spider webs on the windows, the whole deal. It was lovely, and I smiled to myself thinking that young children must live there, that this is what I did when my girls were small. I thought about how they'd come home from school on an autumn afternoon when the temperature was finally dropping, we'd open the windows and let the breeze blow through the skeleton garland I'd hung from the curtains. Eat homemade cookies, discuss our Halloween costumes, plan when we'd go buy our pumpkins. Would they still pass out little cups of free cider at the farmer's market? How many squashes and how big? It was our favorite time of year, my girls and I, and we relished every moment of it. Suddenly, remembering all of this, an incredible feeling of melancholy overtook me and I found myself doing just what Elizabeth describes above - weeping, sobbing, overtaken with emotion, mourning the loss of those sweet days, those precious moments shared with my babies. They are grown now, I am losing them one by one..and please, please don't say the thing that Martin would, I know that they will visit, of course they will. But it is not the same, we all know that. They will no longer live under my roof, safe & sound where I can see them every day, wake up with them each morning. No more impromptu shopping trips, midnight chats or afternoon movies. It changes, once they move out, it just does. And, no, I do not cry because I don't have anything else in my life because I do. I have a partner and job and friends and hobbies...but they are not what define me, what completes me. What has always given me the most satisfaction, the most joy, has always been my role as a Mother. I need to feel needed, to nurture and caretake. Without that, I ask the cliche middle-of-life question: Who am I?

I feel so lost, without direction, bereft and confused and disappointed and scared. It is normal & natural, of course, this progression. Children do what they must: they grow up, they leave the nest, and life goes on! But why all of them at once? Lily is leaving for college in December, Brynna will follow in the summer. Kali and Kevin have taken up residence further away, though not a long drive it's one which requires a bit of forethought, they are no longer a stone's throw away. One by one they go, off to live their lives and though I celebrate them, am so proud of the strong independent young women they have become..I still weep..and I still want to hold onto those apron strings so tightly, and I still beseech the Universe, "But what about me? What do I do now?"

Ah, I am sure that part of this emotional upheaval is due to my approaching moontime, but I do not dismiss it as such. I know that much wisdom is revealed at this time of the month, and that if I listen very closely the goddess will answer my pleas for help, for direction. I'll be ok, I know I will, but at the moment the aching is so great, the longing for them so deep..I want to put up the silly skeletons, throw open the windows and perhaps if I close my eyes and wish really hard along with the autumn breeze will be the sound of little girl giggles filling my house once again...just for a day, can't I have those moments back? Please?

13 comments:

mrsb said...

Awww! Just wait -- now you can look forward to those future grandchildren giggling in your house!

Try to think of all the things you can do now. Go back to school, travel, take up a new hobby that you can spread out in an extra room, join the circus, lol!

And think about what a great job you've done, raising great kids who are able to be independent and go out and do their own thing with confidence.

Helena S. said...

I'm already thinking about the days when my child starts to grow up and want more and more independency. I know it's normal and therefore a good thing but I just don't want to lose her and I'm afraid I can't protect her anymore. So I try to cherish every moment even though I'm sometimes just exhausted and want to have some time for myself too. This post of yours honestly made me cry - and my child is only 1,5 years old! :-)

Susan said...

Hey, M ~

First of all, I *love* Pull of the Moon... because you turned me on to that book (and all things Elizabeth Berg) when we first met - I even submitted it to a Joni-site for inclusion, and it's a book I gift to all my women friends when they turn 50... :-)

http://jonimitchell.com/fiction/bdetail.cfm?id=69

Secondly, your girls are strong, independent young women because you are an amazing role model - when I taught preschool, I'd always praise the mothers whose children ran into the room, excited and not clingy... because they were confident their moms were always *there*... you know?

Thirdly, I think you should drag out some Halloween decorations (if you haven't already) to enjoy - as I recall, it's one of your favorite holidays and deserves some memory-basking!

Susan said...

P.S. I love the new graphic and color scheme! - very warm and autumnal... :-)

ELLIE said...

I am so with you - know that your children being independent enough to move out on their own and pursue the people they are - speaks volumes in the beauty of which you raised them...
(((((((HUGS)))))))
-Ellie

Lady Laurie said...

I was walking the other day and I noticed all the Halloween decorations and it made me sad and long for those days when my children were little.
From everything I have read on your blog you are a wonderful Mom and should be very proud of yourself and how you raised your wonderful children ~ but believe me I know how hard it is to watch them leave the nest ~

Hugs))

Rapunzel said...

Thanks so much for all the kind comments, dear friends.

xoxoxo

linda said...

dearest, I too have had momentary lapses of tears over the little ones now grown, halloween and what is now long past! And I have NO moontime so I can't blame it on anything more than me missing days gone by. I miss my children, now all grown and mostly gone far away from home. But I now have Grandchildren, which, believe me, is the greatest gift of all! So know you are not alone in this mourning you are feeling and will keep feeling throughout this season of holidays, if you are like me, but it will pass and gradually you will find a new sense of who you are, a freedom to fly you have not had for many years, and you will love it~but you will still have these emotional moments! Ahh, the "joys" of motherhood and just being a woman!

miss*R said...

I know exactly how you feel! Even though I cherish my space now that my youngest has almost moved out.. it hurts to know that she is growing up.
I know that I have grandchildren and probably many more to come but that still does not take this ache away. I know i have a gorgeous partner who is my best friend but still....

I am not sure about being the Moon time cause I don't have that now but I am going through a similar questioning phase and frankly I am tired of it..
it is so good to have others like you who are going through similar and we can support each other online. sending blessings and lights always oxox

Rapunzel said...

Linda, thank you so much for your kind words. Somehow, I knew you would understand. *smile*

xoxoxox

Julie said...

Do you remember the part in the movie - I believe it was the Sound of Music, where the nun was telling Julie Andrews that another nun came to her in tears because she had stopped menstrating...it was not that she had regretted her choice to serve God and not have children...but that now she had lost the choice.

In time - you will have Grandchildren...so DO NOT throw away any of those fun decorations. You will still need them and when the parent is too rushed to take the time for the small fun things - you will be there.
smiles...

Rapunzel said...

Miss R, I completely understand! We will stick together though this time and comfort each other, right? Please feel free to email me anytime. xoxoxo

Rapunzel said...

Julie, I know that you're right, and I do still decorate for myself and for my grown girls, but it's just different..sigh..