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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Missing My Parents


My mom and dad moved back to Indiana last week. A kind friend asked me on Thursday, "How are you doing?"

And I replied, "I'm fine, surprisingly." Well, I'm not fine, or I haven't been fine. Although it's taken me until this very moment to realize it.

I would say the sadness started on Sunday. I began to think of every friendship I have or have ever had, and began restlessly reaching out to them. I called a friend from High School. I wrote an "I'm Thinking of You" e-mail to a couple friends. I made a new resolution to send weekly e-mails to certain friends telling them that I've been praying for them. A resolution I make regularly and hardly manage to keep past the first round of e-mails. That's as far as I've gotten this time.

Today, the sadness has followed me. I went to visit another friend, who showered me with gifts from her refrigerator and cupboards, and I could hardly put two words together to say "thank you." I've had as much spark as a slug.

I came home, put Noelle down for a nap, and talked to Dwayne on the phone. In the moments following the phone call I sat absolutely still on the couch, pressing the dead phone to my ear. The gloom was palpable. I could have been Eyore.

"I'm going to lay down on the couch," I told myself, because somehow I needed permission to not grade papers, or cook Noelle's peas, or put away the laundry. So I laid on the couch and named the cloud hovering over me: loneliness.

I guess it stands to reason that when you're feeling lonely you'll assume it's because you need more friends, or more interaction with the friends you've got. And this is what I assumed, that I needed more time with friends. But as I laid there, I suddenly remembered a lunchtime date with a friend who absolutely shines. Just after that I remembered a sweet note another friend had left me on facebook. Need I mention all the gifts that had been showered on me this morning by a friend? No, I wasn't lonely for friends. It was something else.

I was - I am - lonely for my mom and dad. I don't think I expected this because after all, I'm twenty-eight, a wife, and a mother.

My aunt and uncle flew through LA from New Zealand this weekend. They sat on my couch - the very one I was moping on - and we discussed living far away from our families. Their oldest son lives in DC, their second oldest in Indiana.

"We can tell that N. misses us," my Uncle said referring to their oldest. He and my aunt sighed and looked at each other. They missed him too.

"We can tell our kids need us," my aunt added. "Not everyday anymore. But they still need us." It was clear to all of us that my aunt and uncle need their kids too.

I'm surprised to feel how much I still need my mom and dad. I think especially my mom. I need her in a way I never imagined needing her when I was in High School and Junior High.

I need her the way a woman needs someone else to wordlessly understand what it's like to be a caregiver, and a nurturer. I need her the way a woman needs another woman to know her, the way she has come to know her own child. I need her the way a woman needs another woman to show her that it's possible to keep giving beyond your limits. In short, I need her the way a mom needs her own mother.

I miss my parents, but there's no shaking this loneliness. So what do you do with a gloomy heart? I think you stay on the couch for a little while. You let the emotion sweep over you. You let it rise to the top of your head and then sink away, until your spirit has worked a sort of alchemy and the sadness has turned to gold.

6 Comments:

Blogger Drew and Erika Hettinger said...

I know that you are missing your mother. And I love what you wrote about a mom needing a mom...that's obviously what's making the difference this time around, the fact that you are a mommy. Like you said, take time to mourn your loss. It will get easier.

But, I was laughing the other day thinking about how you were feeling when they were moving out here. You were excited because you loved them and loved to be near them. But, you were definitely going through a period of mourning as well. Do you remember? You kept saying that you had been having the best Thanksgivings since you had moved to California because you would share them with your "new family": people that are away from their families.

So, let me be the first to invite you to any Hettinger family affair! We are all blessed to have the Taylors in our families! :-)

-Erika

9:58 PM  
Blogger Kristi "Fields" Stewart said...

Tin-

It's understandable why you would miss your parents. They are wonderful people (as are YOU!). I guess this just means you'll have to come back to Indiana for a visit. I would love to see you and your baby girl! :)

Take care and keep your chin up!
Kristi

7:52 AM  
Blogger The Hall Family said...

Christin,
After 5 years in England with the military, I assumed that I was over the missing my mom. But, I became a mom and that brought a whole wave of emotions that I never expected. One feeling that I fight daily is loneliness. And this is with my family in the same country now! You captured all those feelings that are so hard to place words to with your blog.
Love,
Brooke

5:29 PM  
Blogger Dave & Lynnette Mason said...

Christin,
I totally hear yah...being so far from my parents and family, it can be so hard at times. I have learned now to cherish the time I do get to see them, even if it's only once a year. And praise the Lord for web cam's...it's the one thing that makes me feel like I'm not so far away. Love you Tin!
Luv,
Lynnette

3:48 AM  
Blogger Christin said...

Erika, Kristi, Brooke & Lynnette - thanks ladies! You are all so wonderful! I'm feeling much better today. Tomorrow we're off to visit Dwayne's parents in Toronto first and then my parents in Marion afterwards.

8:01 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

Christin,

I love what you wrote about missing your parents. I went home (upstate NY) in April for the birth of my nephew and coming back to Chicago was difficult. At home I felt needed in a way that I don't here and once I was back I didn't know how to deal with that lack of being needed. Sometimes I do question being so far away from my family and our beautiful new additions, but I know that I am where I am supposed to be. Here's to our "sadness turning into gold."

8:30 AM  

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