Coming and Going.
There is a saying, if there were no sad partings there wouldn’t be any joyous meetings. That seems so true when I look back at the two weeks which passed so fast. Coming to visit one’s adult kids is a joy for the parents’s hearts. As they say in that magical movie “Love Actually” which we watch every New Year, at airports and train stations you hear only the words of love and see either happy faces of those who meet their nearest and dearest or sad faces of those who say good bye. The joy and sadness must be two sides of the same coin, like light and darkness. When our children are grown and flown we may not feel it keenly all the time. After all, we also grew up a number of years ago and left our homes to go out into the big wide exciting world. We followed our dreams, so we not only let our children do the same but help them all we can. As a young student, I used to visit my parents during the summer break. It made me smile when my mother would announce to her friends that she couldn’t see anybody for two weeks because I was coming home and she wanted me to herself. Oh, she never stopped me from going places and seeing my own friends, but she also wanted to be available for me if and when I needed her. And of course our conversations became more sophisticated, more adult as the time went by. When much later in life I came to my parents for short visits with my own kids Mom was always happy to see us. And she was invariably sad when the vacation was over and we had to part. Though truth be told I don’t think we would have enjoyed those visits as much if we could do it every week and not twice a year. “What would you like for your big jubilee?” I asked Mom. And she replied non-hesitatingly, “To have all my grandchildren around me”. We quaked a bit, considering the airfare and all the attendant expenses. But I had a strange feeling, a premonition that this jubilee, my mother’s 80th birthday, might be her last one. So we made an effort and went. It was a very nice party, she got what she wanted. As fate would have it this was really my Mom’s very last birthday. When I think back about it, I’m glad we did it.
Now I am a mother of adult kids and I often think about my mother. I understand her better. Some things I do differently, but the main thing, the foundation is the same. It’s only a few years that our kids left home. We worked out a sort of a loose rotation. Basically we try to visit each of them at least once a year. When our schedules permit and we can get together with two of them at once, that’s even better. Sure, there is skype and email. When scientists figure out how to allow people to hug via skype or some other program that would solve all our problems. It is the desire to hug and comfort, to show love and care, the feeling that our parents’ hearts ache and pine away that makes us up and go. The overwhelming love, the joy and happiness when we meet and hug our children again; the sadness when we part again… Time flies swiftly, the vacation is gone and all of us have to go back. It is strange to listen to our children when they talk confidently about their work and their new responsibilities. They take a few days off from work to stay with us and whisk us around and talk non-stop and go shopping and show us lots of interesting places or take us to a concert or show. But then they go to work and we only see them in the evenings for a couple hours during the remaining days. Still, it’s a great joy and balm for our souls.
Now we go back and they remain in their new homes. I know we’ll need a little time to adjust, to slide into our own routine. Every year it is a bit more difficult to part -and more joyous to meet. We come and we go, that’s the way of life.