Living and Giving

I’ve been feeling pretty down since I moved away from my grown children. This is understandable, considering that my move from the panhandle of Texas to Nashville, Tennessee came on the heels of a divorce.

From July, 1988 to December, 2014, my entire life focus was centered around my husband, sons, and local church. Sensing that the hands-on segment of the “Mom” years was nearing a conclusion, I directed my industry toward the next phase of life in a new career that would, hopefully, provide my husband and myself a comfortable living as we prepared for retirement.

Despite his best intentions, Mr. Holmes couldn’t get into it and found something (someone) else to get into, instead. These factors led to an almost immediate, forced march into adulthood for our sons. At least, that’s how it appeared at the time.

My sons are aged twenty-two, twenty-five, and twenty-seven. They’re grown men, and yet I have suffered a tremendous amount of guilt in their sudden launch. All three were still living at home, more or less, when Benedict Arnold decided to defect. All three remained at home, helping me pay the bills, after the divorce. When my move to Tennessee became imminent, all three engaged in an apartment search and moved themselves out.

This action brought about mixed reviews from friends and family. Among older people, I received a sound, “well done.” From my peers, I received a solemn, downcast look, shaking of the head as if to say, “God, the pain.” And, believe it or not, I also experienced a general sprinkling across generations of, “I don’t even understand what you’re talking about.”

We sure don’t.

We don’t understand letting go of our youth. We don’t understand volunteering for a front row seat at our now-grown child’s disaster parade. We don’t understand embracing the pain of separation for the long term good of the separated. We don’t understand who we are outside of being someone’s parent. We don’t understand that, after a lifetime of self denial and sacrifice for the sake of our offspring, we are simply required to walk away. Where’s my prize? Where’s my thank-you? I don’t understand. Don’t I at least get a certificate, or something? Where’s the reward? Somebody owes me something for the late nights, the laundry, and the stretch marks. After everything we’ve done for you, where are you going?

I love my sons, and my heart breaks every day because I miss them so much. My greatest privilege in life has been to raise and instruct three amazing young men. As a parent, if I’ve done my job right, my children will leave me to have families of their own. They will make mistakes and occasionally fall, but that’s how they learn to get back up again and succeed. I was younger than my youngest child when I started my family, just a child, myself. They taught me how to trust my own instincts, make my own decisions, and selflessly care for others. They gave me my life, and now I must give them theirs. They don’t owe me a single thing.

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3 thoughts on “Living and Giving

  1. Sweetheart, I’m fond of telling myself that some days are so shitty that I felt I was swimming upstream in it all day. Still, it could very well have been my very best that I gave that day, stinky shit life and all. I know you want validation in some form you can hold in your hand: “My mama was and is the only mama a Creator could have blessed me with.” And Connie, that’s the goddamn truth! I know you. I know all the players. I see you and I sense you and I feel you, even though you are half a light year away. I doesn’t matter; you have a way of getting in peoples’ hearts. That’s a good thing, because you let us in as well. Meaning–if your shitty day was a way of life and you were the deliberately living in a mental sewer, we would know. What I’m saying is that we all want 1st Place trophies in that Superdome size trophy room. Thing is, there’s a whole lot of Honorable Mentions. Some days, raising the boys was an Honorable Mention. So what. Some days raising their dad was an Honorable Mention. Ditto. But never once did you fail. Even if some dicksnot tried to make you feel like shit for coming in last in the race, AT LEAST YOU CROSSED THE FINISH LINE. I love you like you are my twin that had been joined at my liver or whatever and was suddenly hacked out and spirited away–I’m so proud of you, that I can’t contain myself. I miss you (all about me), I’m jealous of your freedom (all about me), and there is nothing you could have done, given the shit thrown your way, that you could’ve done better. You raised three beautiful, sensitive, strong, stable, loving men. Whatever pain there is, let time do its magic for the healing. I love you. Be happy. Let go.

    • You are one of the best things about my life, my love. Know that I miss you terribly and look forward to seeing you again, and I mean it!!! We are both so busy, and we all have the heavy on us–good days, bad days. I am SO SORRY I haven’t called you, but because we are so close, I know I never have to explain much to you. Love, love, love, love, LOVE! I’ll give you the same incredible advice you gave me: hang in there, and count the victories more precious than the losses.

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