Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Bittersweet

It's sort of a strange experience to call your daughter from Ohio and when she answers the phone you hear a cacophony in the background and she is yelling, "I have to call you back, Mom - we're going to our seats at Yankee Stadium! Look for me on TV!" The game was on in Cleveland because the Yankees were playing the Indians (the Tribe won!) I stared at the television thinking - she's there - right now - in that crowd - under that sky - 400+ miles away.
Another time I had that same sense of weirdness was our first Thanksgiving apart. I was tearfully stuffing the turkey and the phone rang. "Mom!" (in more of an eight-year-old voice out of the past) "I just saw Scooby-Doo!" She was at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. After hanging up the phone I watched the TV, gazing at the New York streets trying to imagine her in that crowd.
I love that she's out in the world experiencing things that I never did - soaking up New York City - living her own unique life - but at the same time it doesn't seem right that she's there and I'm here.
So I think the word BITTERSWEET must have been invented to describe a mother's torn feelings about her children in situations like this.
You bitterly miss them - but feel the sweet pride as they find their place in this world.
You ache for the days when you were needed 24/7 - but their independence and growth bring you joy.
You want them to stay - but you rejoice at their singular flight.
Bitter and sweet.

6 comments:

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Not having kids, I can't really know what this is like, but your words help me imagine it.

Mary said...

I understand exactly every word you wrote. I always try to remember that my success as a mother comes when my babies are able to make their way in the world. Bittersweet is the perfect word.

Kelly Jene said...

I am not eager for that time for the most part. Another part of me is so excited to see who they are as adults. Big hugs to you, mom!

james2285 said...

Had that feeling last night as my sons were doing som yard clean up using my truck to haul stuff around. Wierd watching them work they look so grown up.
jim
PS. Loved yesterdays poem and picture.

Mary M. said...

This post made me cry. I'm not sure if it was the bitter or the sweet. Perhaps both. Thanks for reminding me to cherish each day that my children are near to me. Somehow the endless hours in the car taxiing them all over God's green earth don't seem so bad. Pehaps I will even embrace them now...well, maybe.

I hope you're having a great day.
Mary

Cheryl said...

When I was in NYC I saw so many 20-somethings and thought how much I'd love for my daughter to experience that life. I kind of feel like I'm living that bittersweet life now, and my girl is only 14. So young, yet so detached from me already.