I just watched my oldest daughter, Kerri, pull out of the driveway on her way home to Seattle. She asked why I was crying. Last Monday I watched my middle daughter, Jamie, pull out with her husband heading to the airport for their return flight to Los Angeles. She told me to stop crying. I don't cry when my son heads home to his house about ten miles away. So why do I cry when the girls head back to the west coast?
The obvious and easy answer is distance of course. I can see my son whenever I want, but the West Coast is so far away. The reality however is I communicate with the girls as much as I do with David. Kerri is coming home in February and Jamie and I are going on a cruise together in March.
I think perhaps that the tears flow because their visits home let me drift back to years gone by, when they were living at home. Because he is so close, David doesn't stay overnight (other than Christmas Eve of course, a tradition is a tradition) but the girls do. Having them sleeping in the house, stumbling in the morning as they wake up, keeping the lights burning long after I've gone to sleep, seeing them scanning the fridge for a snack. All of those tiny moments bring me back to a time when I was busy complaining about rooms that needed cleaning and laundry that needed folding. I was off to work every morning and home tired each evening. Now when they visit, I find that they have become the busy ones. Friends and in laws to visit. Working remotely from the kitchen counter.
I think I cry because in the deepest part of my heart, I want a "do-over". I've always been an advocate for supporting women having both a career and family. I am proud of what I have accomplished professionally and for the outstanding individuals my three children have become. Each of those tears fall because I know that there are moments that I missed which can never be repeated. I also know that we become who we are from a compilation of experiences. The ones they had with me and without me, created the individuals that I love so deeply.
My sister, pictured below with my children and grandpoodles, lived out of state for awhile when she was younger but eventually moved home. I know her nearby presence was a comfort to my mother and the time they spent together created wonderful memories that my sister still cherishes.
To Kerri, Jamie and David (even though you still live nearby) please know that those tears you see pass soon after you leave. They are replaced by beaming pride of who you are and what you have done with your lives. Someday you may need me by your side, and I will be on the first plane. Someday I may need you, and I know that you will come. Until then, be happy wherever life takes you and experience as much as you possibly can. The wonderful part of life is that if you live fully in the moment you create a memory that will comfort you for all time. Always reach for and embrace those moments. Thank you for the past week and the new memories that we created together.
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