Tuesday, June 05, 2012

I Am A Mother—And It Feels Good

The babies when they needed me as Mother full-time.
The last few weeks have been all about being a mother to my girls. Parenting was a full-time job years ago when they were under my roof year round, but then it became less central to my identity and responsibilities. For the moment, we’ve returned to our old ways, and it feels good. Katie arrived here Saturday night after an 11-day trek across the country, and I went to sleep that evening with the comfort of knowing my babies were in their beds—for the moment, right where they belonged.

In early May, I moved Emily out of her dorm, hauling a year’s worth of stuff down a flight of stairs and packing my car in masterful ways, to the ceiling and leaving just enough room for the driver. Then I flew to Berkeley and helped Katie pack up and clean her condo, filling her car as well, and watching the movers haul out her belongings for storage.

Then I returned home to help Emily get ready for her main summer activity, working at Husband’s company. She needed to get her drivers’ permit, she needed clothes that didn’t look like pajamas, and she needed her things to be moved into the house in a way that did not create a hoarder’s maze for the rest of us.

And then Katie arrived. She’ll only be here until Wednesday when we’ll drive her to the airport, and then she’ll be off to Amman, Jordan to spend the summer in an Arabic studies program. In August, she'll return home for one day, and then she’ll move to Austin, Texas for grad school.

Katie has quite a to-do list and needs me to help with very little of it, but yesterday, we worked in tandem to check off nearly every item. She needed a meningitis vaccine, to cancel her cable at Berkeley, transfer her car insurance, register her car, arrange for prescriptions, buy some last-minute items, make calls and handle some school paper work. And she needed to get her cat’s teeth cleaned.

Nicholas, who will be my foster cat until winter.
Yes, her cat, Nicholas, has been part of the move. I determined I would not fly from SFO to Cleveland with a cat under the seat, so I arranged to have him driven. Did you know there are services out there that will haul your pets coast to coast? Amazing. I had hoped to have the little guy temporarily housed at a friend’s house because he has front claws and sheds and doesn’t know my pets, but no such luck. Now he’s here, hiding under Katie’s bed, and I’m sure waiting for a chance to swipe poor unsuspecting Baxter’s tender nose with his saber-like claws.

Today, we’ll attempt to socialize the menagerie, and Katie will finalize her traveling plans, and Emily will go to work with Dad, and I will ask what I can do to help with it all.

During these last few years with my daughters off on their own, I have enjoyed figuring out who I am apart from being a mother, and I look forward to many more years of self-discovery. But for these few days, I am Mother. My kids occasionally call me Universal Mother because at times I feel maternal toward the world, but really, I only belong to them. And it feels good.

1 comment:

savannah said...

LOVELY! i so, so, soooooo know what you're talking about, sugar! the coconut krewe is a lot older than your girls, but there are days... cheers to you! xoxoxoxox