Taking a vacation to motherhood

It is cold out, minus double-digits. I’ve grown soft in my upper-middle age—seeking shelter from snow and wind instead of embracing the discomfort.
No apologies.
To ease the agony of cold toes and shoulders pulled up to my ears, I was imagining warm beaches and frothy drinks and the sound of waves collapsing on the sand. I could feel my bare feet slipping into flip-flops, socks abandoned.
I could close my eyes and feel the heat from the sun, the hot wind messing my hair, and that exacting feeling that says there is no laundry, no windshields to scrape, no obligation to get somewhere on time.
I was dreaming of a vacation.
Instead, I dashed off to visit two of my daughters; to take the reins from Thea, who had just been released from four days imprisoned in intensive care with diabetes complications, and to spend time with Samantha, whom I hadn’t seen for eight months.
I’m a hands-on mother. Phone calls are nice, texts are simple and quick, Skype is visual, but I need to hug, need to smell their hair, feel their cool fingers in mine, look in their eyes for the stories they don’t tell.
My mother-battery had all but run dry.
I know I drone on about my daughters. I try to contain my admiration of them; my love that bubbles out despite my efforts not to bore you. These four creatures that I call my children are beyond amazing, and I often have to just stop and stand with my hand at my mouth surprised by them.
Despite my blunderings and failings, they continue to amaze me with their warm hearts and determination to care and love those around them.
Families are so spread out nowadays. This age of technology and convenience and aircraft and super highways has us all wandering in every direction.
Blooming where you’re planted seems a thing of the past. It’s exciting to try new places and to have the opportunity to strike out on our own; an opportunity that should be the very privilege of being young—to fly from the nest without any encumbrances of expectation or judgment.
I stood by a couple of mothers in the grocery line the other day complaining about their teenagers. I know raising teenagers isn’t for the faint of heart. I had it easy. Other than a few slammed doors and a couple of I hate yous, it was a reasonably easy ride.
Was it because of my parenting? I doubt it. I think most probably just good luck, good timing, and a lot of time spent with them in the barn with their ponies and my attention to the small stuff.
I loved every second my daughters were under my roof, where I could hear them, see them, smell them. Where four heads of long hair translated to hours of braiding and brushing.
It all went by much too fast.
This past week with Thea and Samantha was deliciously fabulous. There aren’t enough superlatives to describe what it was like spending time with them. Saying good-bye felt like an ache that might swallow me whole.
But mixed in with all the tears is the great celebration of having shared time with them. The joy of motherhood revisited exceeds any exotic sunny adventure to the Caribbean, to Mexico, to anywhere that snow is not.
Spending time with my daughters lifts me up more than listening to or reading any motivational work. Being with my daughters reassures me that there is hope for this world; the future is in good hands.
I came home to a 70-pound pup trying to jump into my arms, a cat meowing at my feet, and lovely orange-and-yellow flowers on the kitchen table along with a loving hug from David that said, “Welcome Home.”
All is as it should be.
wendistewart@live.ca

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