Now that my kids are “grown” adults, can I step into a new role as Mother? And if so, who gives me permission to create this new role? These questions float a nebulous cloud in my brain as I sip my first cup of strong breakfast tea. The November air a chill on the morning, brings a freshness from the overnight falling rain, the sky a clear blue, “sky-blue” in fact matching the crayola crayon I remember from my childhood.
What prompts the question? The holidays, to start, Thanksgiving. Both son and daughter live and work in LA, a seven hour drive away or an hour by plane, My daughter, Kiva loves the holiday and dearly wants me to come and visit, to celebrate in the festivities, to eat the delicious dinner she and her chef boyfriend will prepare, to meet their new two puppies, and to see how she fixed up her yard, and living space. I love my daughter and her company and talking with her as an adult is a special treat, but this time around I want to spend time gathering up my various writing projects, prioritizing which ones I really long to pursue, etc. etc. and the expense and hassle of getting on a plane for a four day visit just doesn’t appeal to me now.
At first she doesn’t seem to ounderstand why I want solitude at that time and I am reminded how very much we love one another’s company. There is nothing quite like it. She makes me laugh with joy and gratitude when I sense how much she wants me to come and celebrate with her. She says things like, “You have plenty of time to be alone on other days.” and “You should budget your time better.” I agree that I should do so. But still I WANT THIS TIME FOR MYSELF. Just this once, and a trip down south would be disruptive–although probably also refreshing and lovely. When I mention the hassle of the travel part, she says, “Oh, that makes sense.” So she gives me permission to be myself. But is it primarily because I’ve given it to myself to begin with? Talking witn my friends, Karen and Cheryl over coffee the other day, we all agreed that having given our all to raising our children to adulthood– the countless birthday parties, plays, cello concerts, track meets, graduation ceremonies we attended with gratitude and love in the past– finally we have EARNED OUR RIGHT to our own time, even around the holidays. But the thing is, I know I am so looking forward to my being with my daughter when she comes up over the Christmas holidays, only a month or so away. She’s younger. I hope she doesn’t yet mind the hassle, and schlepping of all the travel part.
As a mother, how do you spend thanksgiving with your adult children who live a distance from you? Am I being silly or selfish? I’d love to know what you think.