My youngest child and I have had a push-pull kind of summer. She pushes me away and then pulls me close, then pushes me away, then pulls me close. I’m sure it must be a common mother-daughter dance right before the first year of college begins. I remember it with my older daughter as well. But as the days move closer to next week when I will put her on a plane to travel far away, it’s been more pulling and less pushing, and for this, I am so very grateful.
Tiny fruit bowls made of beeswax, secret notes to fairies, dried up strawberry chapstick, lists of favorite friends….I’ve been packing up and organizing our things into numbered bins to put in storage. I’m going away too this fall.
Every day I try to do a little bit, but my stamina is low. I come across knitted socks that L made and I cry. I see a paper mâché elephant head C made and I cry. I sort through photographs of both my girls and I cry. Then I have to take a break because I’m emotionally exhausted. Today I didn’t even get back at it. Instead I poured myself a glass of cold white wine and sat on the porch–and cried.
The three of us were in Waterbury, Vermont last week, having lunch outside at Prohibition Pig, talking intensely about politics and I thought: As much as I enjoy this moment right here and now with my children, I sort of wish I could put them in the double stroller after lunch and give them sippy cups with water and a splash of apple juice.
My whole heart aches.
Soon I will have to push my youngest daughter to pack her suitcase and push her to take this leap into the unknown of her life. But secretly, I will be pulling her as close to my heart as I possibly can. I will be holding on so tightly even as I appear to be letting her go. I have to. It’s the way I know how to love. To never let go. Even when you’re letting go.