Friday, July 25, 2008

Pay attention to the cats

A picture of my cats, in order to distract you from this post. Is it working?

This is odd, because i consider myself an expert at anticipatory grief. I can get myself all worked up, sometimes to the point of tears, with my 'what-ifs.'

Em is leaving for college in less than a month, and i am totally in denial about how sad i am going to be.

The two of us went to see Mamma Mia this week. (A movie you don't need to actively avoid, but you don't need to seek it out either.) There is one scene where the mother is helping the daughter get ready for her wedding and it is a tender, poignant moment (at least for those of you without my cold, black heart.) At my side, i hear Em sniffling a little, but i resist mightily because, dammit! I will not be manipulated by Hollywood. So i just got a little misty-eyed, undetectable to any other movie patron. Whew.

In the car after the movie, Em asks if i noticed her crying. I lied and said "No." She proceeded to burst into tears with "How am i going to leave you? I'm going to miss you so much! I don't want to go." She cried for a good 5 minutes whilst i said what i hoped were comforting things.

We continued on, went grocery shopping and went home. Em disappeared upstairs.

When she came down an hour or so later, she apologized for crying.

"My God!" i said, "don't apologize. It's scary out there and you know i'm going to miss the hell out of you too."

"Yeah, that scene hit a little close to home for me," she continued. "You are basically my best friend."

I may have wept, a little, then.


Here's the deal. I know she has to go. I believe that it's a good thing she's going. She's going to learn SO much and grow SO much and she can't do that with me there. I know all this. I feel SO LUCKY to have a daughter who likes me, and i continue to be amazed that such a relationship can exist between any mother and daughter.

She's making it harder for me to continue in my little bubble of denial, but my will is strong.


thailandchani said...

I cant help but think you'll go through a "honeymoon" period, having the house to yourself and not having the daily responsibility... but then it will sink in. Especially when she calls you and tells you all the things she's involved with and you don't see the day-to-day of it.

Then you'll become even better friends.. because she will be making decisions and creating a life based on all the things you taught her.

Howzabout that? :)


Stucco said...

You're one of the good ones, meno. And I'm with you re: Hollywood pandering to the waterworks. Eff them!

ETK said...

Aw - I was so distracted by kitties. What was that about?

You can do this. I wish I had advice but I don't so I offer my neverending support. Anyway, I'm catching the next plane to the NW to kick your ass anyway. :)

QT said...

That cold black heart might be warming up...

The best fun ever is sending care packages to freshman in college. And really, moms are ideally positioned to make the perfect care packages. Does the college have a parents weekend? Don't miss that if they do. My parents didn't come to mine, and it SUCKED!

Deb said...

I'm sorry I just can't relate to this post at all. Why? Because I never cry and I don't like my children.

Snort. As if!

Deb said...

There, did I make you smile? Just a little?

Daisy said...

Just make sure your pockets are filled with those handy little kleenex packs. Because the only thing that's worse than crying, is breaking down in a drippy nose, booger filled sobfest and not having a tissue.

I know whereof I speak.

flutter said...

When I moved out of the house, I called my mother every hour from my new apartment.


she was only 20 mins away but I just missed her so much.

Sally Forth said...

I can only hope my daughter feels the way yours does when it's time for her to leave the nest. You've done a good job.

Mrs. Chili said...

I'm paying very close attention to this experience you're having - I'm going to have similar ones in the all-too-immediate future (yes, I know my oldest daughter's only 11, but that shit goes by FAST). You're right about all of it - she DOES need to go and it IS going to be okay and you WILL miss her and that's part of the deal.

Keep writing; Mrs. Chili is taking careful notes...

hockamama said...

damn those kids! how is they can manage to bring us to tears, no matter how hard we try not to cry?

someday I know I'll go through this...that is, if my kid would just leave! until then, I try to enjoy her, except when she leaves me messes, or doesn't replace things.

it's hard, but after you adjust, maybe you and the mister will have more time together, just to bond and enjoy each other's company. or maybe you'll get a pool boy and let the mister go do his work day can't beat a nice, cold mimosa by the pool side while stefano pulls leaves from the water. I wish I knew that firsthand!

Sober Briquette said...

You sure are good at being the grown up.

It's going to be tough, but it's really under good circumstances.

jen said...

you are her best friend.

it's this i'm talking about. it's this i hope to have.

Meno, damn woman...what a fine job you've done. as to the letting her go - i have no idea except i think, in fact i know, you'll handle it with the grace that defines your relationship till this point and beyond.

caro said...

We'll all be there when that Big day comes.

Have agreat day Meno, you big denialist you :)

meno said...

chani, Hmmmm. I'm not so sure about the honeymoon thing, but the rest sounds good.

stucco, thank you. Most of the time during the sad parts of movies, i roll my eyes and think about camera angles.

etk, it was about cats! Good of you to notice. I'm a shakin' in mah boots waiting for my ass kickin'.

qt, we already have tickets to parent's weekend in October. No way would Em allow us to not go.

deb, you did indeed make me smile. You are just so mean and tough! :)

daisy, i anticipate needing those on the planes rides home. Thanks for the advice!

flutter, that's pretty sweet. But look, you survived.

sally, i bet she will. And thank you.

mrs. chili, it will be time before you know it. But you have another one to keep you on your toes for a few more years! Yes, i am sure that you will be hearing more about this.

holly, a pool boy! That's the best idea yet! Why didn't i think of that. MMmmm, Raoul and Ramone...

de, but i want to throw myself on the floor, pound my tiny little fists and stamp my tiny little feet. Can't i, just a little?

jen, i think you will have it. As to handling this with grace, we'll see, we'll see.

Marshamlow said...

I can't help but think that parenting is also done by example. By being strong and in a bubble you are giving Em a chance to leave without worrying about you. Much better than ringing your hands and having her worry about how you are doing while she is away.

pat said...

I went through a period of adjustment when my only son went off to school....It took awhile to get used to the quiet house and I missed his comapny. But I also know how great of a time he is having..I think it helps if you focus on how happy they are (hopefully it will be a happy experience your Em).You will be happier if you know she is. I guess you should be happy that she "can't wait to go", like so many kids. And it sounds like the two of you are really close; I think that will continue regardless of where she sleeps.And I have found some some new freedom in the 3 years he has been in college, as well as chopped my grocery bill to about 1/3!!!

Dianne said...

Well you made me cry

My son never wanted to travel much and I always went out of my way to encourage him. I was worried about the son of single mom syndrome - didn't want him to think he had to be there for me.

He never did venture far and chose college at home and has some regrets about that now.

So you are being the best of Moms and the best of friends. And they always come back!! :)

Oh - was there a picture of cats?

SUEB0B said...

I am a little bit jealous...while my mom was a good mom, we were never "friends." I know it irked her a little bit but we were so different. There has always been a distance. I am so glad your daughter gets to have this relationship with you.

Vanessa said...

Your are amazingly lucky to have such a great relationship with your daughter. Give classes for my Mom? Please?

Gina said...

How wonderful to have your daughter consider you her best friend! I only hope to be so blessed.

The Real Mother Hen said...

Not many children adore their mothers like the way Em adores you. You're one great mom with one great kid.

I have only the best wishes for Em and you.

crazymumma said...


I saw Mamma Mia with my much younger girls last week, not only did we love it but THAT scene really stuck with me and I have been mentally prepping a post about it as well! So be prepared to be linked to from my space.

The part that got me the most was when she was singing about all the missed moments, all the INTENDED times she meant to have with her.

And didn't you LOVE the very end when they were all singing in campy outfits?

crazymumma said...


I saw Mamma Mia with my much younger girls last week, not only did we love it but THAT scene really stuck with me and I have been mentally prepping a post about it as well! So be prepared to be linked to from my space.

The part that got me the most was when she was singing about all the missed moments, all the INTENDED times she meant to have with her.

And didn't you LOVE the very end when they were all singing in campy outfits?

Mama P said...

Okay, I cried just reading that post. I will be a BASKET CASE. I am thinking good thoughts for you. I really am.

Sienna said...

I'm in tears reading this too...I know it's gotta unfold... (life and stuff), but it is sad..

Just cyberhugs.

Could maybe you guys shift a little closer to her?

Just askin'.


Tink said...

My Mom and I cried the day I moved out. But it's been great being apart too. Now, instead of being Mother-Daughter, we're more like best friends. The relationship will change, for sure, but it'll still be great. I promise.

Maggie said...

Resistance is futile. Give in to the dark side of the force and realize your true destiny.

patches said...

Why am I paying attention to the cats? Are they going to make me a martini or fold the laundry?

Cagey said...

It's post like these that keep me going on the days when I think I will not ever have a minute to myself again. *sigh*


luckyzmom said...

Like your life changed the moment Em was born, it is happening again. Like the pains of childbirth and the joy of helping her grow into such a marvelous creature, you’ll have the pain of separation and the joy of watching her fly.

Job well done.

meno said...

caro, denial is my specialty. I'm glad you'll all be here.

marsha, yes, the last thing she needs is to be worrying about me.

pat, i hadn't thought of the grocery bill advantage!

dianne, we are both happy that she feels comfortable enough to go so far away. Well, except for the fact that she'll be so far away.

suebob, oddly enough, i am a little jealous too. I never had a very close relationship with my mother.

vanessa, i might, except that what works for one child does not necessarily work for another. They insist on being different.

gina, it was pretty sweet to hear.

mother hen, it's nothing i ever experienced, that's for sure.

crazymumma, the sight of Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth in shiny blue spandex and high-heeled boots was worth the price of admission.

mamap, thank you. I'll need those good thoughts.

pam, we can't really move. And this is home. Maybe she'll come back someday.

tink, i'm holding you to that.

maggie, i will be assimiliated?

patches, they have shown no hints of being useful IN ANY WAY.

cagey, i remember those days. It seems so long ago now....

luckyzmom, but...pain HURTS! And thank you.

tt said...

cats?? there were cats???

Just remember to breathe. Breatheing is very important in keeping the invisible wall up.....
And you really doesn't get any easier...I don't baby girl just turned 30...I'm still her "mama" never ends..
sorry, I've got to go blow my nose now...

Mona Buonanotte said...

Don't be afraid to bawl your eyes out when she leaves. Or get roaring drunk. Either way...catharsis!

peevish said...

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Just admit defeat now. You are dead meat and you are gonna wail in lamentation. But here's the good news. We live in a time of modern communication devices which will allow you both to phone, e-mail, text, and I don't know what else. Video-conference? Plus visit regularly. Can you imagine what it would be like if you had to just mail a letter, and wait for a reply? Gah!

I admire the crap out of your relationship with Em, and hope to whatever's up there in the heavenly heavens that I can attain something like it with my dear daughters. Because you two are awesomeness.

Antonia said...

I love reading about your relationship with Em. It makes me feel that there can be a good strong loving bond between mothers and daughters and there doesn't have to be therapy or estrangement involved anywhere down the line.

I've been through more airport lounges than I care to mention this past ten days and seen so many people in hello or goodbye cuddles. Both make me teary-eyed to watch, even though I have no idea who the people are.

fiwa said...

Just keep yourself busy when winter hits, I would suspect you'll be more susceptible to the winter blues this year.

I think you're probably handling it so well because you know Em is going to be ok. She's not some shrinking violet who is going to get to school and fall apart.

You've done well.
PS thanks for the info about Mama Mia. I'm sad to hear it, but glad to miss a special trip to the theatre.

sari said...

My oldest is only ten and already my heart hurts a little bit about him growing up. This is the time of year it hits me, too - "back to school". Not birthdays, it's always back to school, because then he's another year older.

I don't know what I'm going to do this year, my oldest is in his last year of elementary school, my "baby" (now my middle son) is going to be in first grade and at school all day and the baby keeps me so busy I'm afraid time will fly right by.

You're a good mom, don't try to fool us with that "black heart" crap. ha ha

Half-Past Kissin' Time said...

I'm already thinking I'm going to need a therapist to get me through this when it happens, and my husband will for SURE, as he is a very involved dad. It's going to shake us up big time. I'm told people survive it, though... :)

meno said...

tt, it just nevers ends. And i'm glad about that.

mona, i'll probably do both. At the same time.

peevish, yep, i'm toast. But i have a cell phone, and IM and AIM and i know how to use them.

antonia, what? No therapy? What will all the therapists do? It's sure not what i have with my mother, which is why i find it so odd.

fiwa, i know that i'm going to have to find more to do. Sigh.

sari, so you see through my black heart huh?

mrs. 4444, it's heartening to know that people survive. :)

Nancy Dancehall said...

I knew it. You're actually all squishy inside. Black heart my white butt.


My dad took it hard when I left. He used to send me care packages full of mix tapes. I still have them. I'll always have them.

Say It said...

tugging on my heartstrings is not kind Meno! Being a parent is really hard emotionally. letting go and keeping them close is a hard balancing act. And you are right, you are SO Lucky to have that wonderful relationship with your daughter!!! Its completely heartwarming.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Sometimes you just have to cry. I am very, very good at not crying, but my youngest leaving home got to me, as did her college and grad school graduations and her wedding.

Waterproof mascara made it all possible.

You and Em have a beautiful bond, and it will evolve into something new but equally beautiful. I raised my own best friends, and I can tell that you did, too.

womaninawindow said...

Oh, just turn around and cry like a baby. Let her hold you. That would be nice. I'm all about nice (today.)

Cheesy said...

Just cuz I know the feeling...Go ahead and cry get the toxins OUT

Candy said...

I hate to throw this at the bottom of all these comments, but YOU HAVE BEEN TAGGED> Details at my place.