From A Distance

July 25, 2007

We’re leaving soon. The car is packed, almost. The maps have been consulted, the route plotted, the schedule worked and reworked and reworked again (do we have time to detour to Frankenmuth? To stop at Target? To visit Joy?). We’re ready. We’re excited. Everything is perfect.

Except for this one small thing, this very small thing, this very small girl, to whom I have already said goodbye, whose cheeks I have already kissed and kissed and kissed and dampened with my tears (Mommy sad?).

I’ve said many goodbyes in my life. To family, to friends, to lovers; some tearful, some not. I still cry every time that I say goodbye to my own mother. I certainly cry when I say goodbye to my husband. But nothing quite prepares you for the tug-of-heart that is saying goodbye to your child, that is waving them off and knowing that you won’t remain right around the corner, that you won’t be there when they get home, that you won’t be there to tuck them into bed. Knowing that you are putting an impossible distance between the two of you, knowing that you are losing time that you can never get back.

My heart aches and yearns to stretch, to fling itself into her pocket and go with her wherever she goes, stay with her no matter how far I go, to stretch and stretch and stretch across the distance, across whatever distance, for however long, until I am pulled back and clutching her, my heart-wrapped her, to my breast again.

Future album cover.

She’ll be fine, I know. More than fine. She’ll be with her Da, revelling in summer. And I’ll be fine, too. More than fine.

But I’ll still feel, keenly, the stretching of my heart.

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    { 44 comments }

    Angela Mott July 25, 2007 at 11:19 am

    It’s SO hard to leave them! You’ll have a wonderful time, and so will she, but you’re so right about how it feels anyway. The heart pays no mind to the logical brain that says it’s perfectly ok.

    Nancy July 25, 2007 at 11:26 am

    It is hard to leave them, isn’t it? I’m already dreading those last hugs and kisses tomorrow.

    But I can’t wait to see you in Chicago!

    sam July 25, 2007 at 11:55 am

    I hate leaving mine. Even just for the day to go to work.

    But dang it! You’re going to BlogHer! Lots of other moms to wallow in your sadness with and miss your children with, lots of vodka to down your sorrows with. You’ll do just fine!!

    Have a GREAT time! Can’t wait to here the details when you get back!

    nonlineargirl July 25, 2007 at 12:42 pm

    Going away is both wonderful and sad. The upside is, after the wonderful trip, you get the wonderful return. Three weeks after Ada and I reunited at the Oakland airport (I’d gone ahead without her and met her and Chris as they walked out of security) she is still talking about the moment when she saw me and I scooped her up and gave her hugs and kisses. Living that moment and then getting to repeatedly talk about it are fantastic.

    Mimi July 25, 2007 at 1:08 pm

    Oh, yes, it’s going to hard tomorrow morning, especially because of the whole daycare thing and how much I miss Munchkin already! This is an adult pang, this anticipation of so much fun mixed in with a proportional sadness at what I’m going to miss …

    Still. BlogHer! Woo!

    Karen Rani July 25, 2007 at 1:20 pm

    Wow. Beautiful post Catherine, but um…I must be Their Bad Mother, because I’m ready to BOLT. NOW. We leave at 6 a.m. in the morning. See you there!

    Major Bedhead July 25, 2007 at 1:27 pm

    Yeah. *sigh* I may moan and groan about my children (may? There is no may about it.) but when I’m away from them, it sucks. My oldest daughter is at camp for two weeks and it kills me every time I walk by her bedroom door, every time I think “Oh, I need to tell O about this,” and she’s not here. I’m even missing hearing her play her Hannah freakin’ Montana CDs over and over and over and over again.

    Beck July 25, 2007 at 1:29 pm

    Sniff.
    Both for this lovely, sad post and also because EVERYONE IS GOING TO BLOGHER BUT MEEEEEEE.

    Phoenix July 25, 2007 at 1:33 pm

    I love the picture. I can picture it on the cover of a CD for sure. Oh by the way, I loved the video below. Awesome. :)

    I still cry everytime I leave my mom too.

    kgirl July 25, 2007 at 1:41 pm

    Besides the great time you’ll have while you’re away, think of how sweet the return will be :)
    travel safe.

    Lawyer Mama July 25, 2007 at 1:58 pm

    It will be hard for me to leave my kidlets at daycare tomorrow without crying. I’m so looking forward to BlogHer, but am in complete denial about not seeing my children for 3 days.

    Can’t wait to meet you!

    P.S. That picture is perfect.

    Julie Pippert July 25, 2007 at 2:12 pm

    Here’s a deal:

    I will blog about ALL THE JOY that is staying home with my kids during BlogHer.

    You will blog about ALL THE JOY that is being free at BlogHer.

    Do we have a deal?

    Oh, and a photo with people I know with a hole left in the group so I can photoshop myself in.

    nomotherearth July 25, 2007 at 2:42 pm

    The saddest part for me (although I’m NOT going to BlogHer dammit), is that when you go away overnight, or for a few days, they have no concept of when you’ll be back. Time means nothing to them. (Sorry, this is not helping at all.) It just killed me when we went to New York that the Boy didn’t know that we really would be back in a few days.

    On the upside, when you come back you are SO happy to see them – there’s no better feeling in the world.

    Jenifer July 25, 2007 at 3:00 pm

    So sad and so, so, familiar. Leaving is hard every time and in a way I am kind of glad. It gives credence that we are good, engaged, caring parents. It SHOULD hurt, if it didn’t I think I might be worried.

    Beck, that would included me tooooo!

    Sniff.

    flutter July 25, 2007 at 3:12 pm

    I can’t even begin to imagine.

    Mrs. Chicky July 25, 2007 at 3:39 pm

    Damn. I didn’t want to think about leaving my kid. I’m going to be a complete mess in the airport.

    ~JJ! July 25, 2007 at 3:57 pm

    I haven’t done it yet…3+years later…We have not had a night apart….

    I don’t know how you’ll be…But I know she’ll be fine…

    jennster July 25, 2007 at 4:38 pm

    but think of me… i won’t get to be held against your breast this year either. and that is just WRONG.

    mcewen July 25, 2007 at 5:34 pm

    Ah, for shame. And yes it’ll make a great album cover.
    Cheers

    jen July 25, 2007 at 5:45 pm

    so many of us kissing the little ones goodbye right now and travelling towards one place. thank god for good company.

    Jenifer July 25, 2007 at 6:22 pm

    I’ve left my children about 3 times for business trips, and each time I have felt exactly how you are feeling now. I just would never be able to put it into words as eloquently as you have!!

    kristen July 25, 2007 at 6:31 pm

    Oh this is lovely, beautifully written. Tugged on my heart, too, as I sit here making plans to spend one night (the first night ever) away from my nearly 6-year-old son. Sigh.

    Aliki2006 July 25, 2007 at 7:34 pm

    Have a wonderful time! What a gorgeous post, too btw! Can’t wait to hear all about the trip.

    b*babbler July 25, 2007 at 7:42 pm

    Amazing photo!

    So well put, this aching that is the leaving of your baby. I’ve left my little Peanut for one night, less than 24 hours, since she was born and while the sleep was appreciated, the amount she was missed was utterly astounding.

    I hope you have an amazing time, and an even better reunion.

    liv July 25, 2007 at 8:17 pm

    And the one day it gets easier. I promise.

    Anonymous July 25, 2007 at 8:50 pm

    Never mind Wonderbaby! What the heck am I supposed to read while you are all off galivanting in Chicago!!!

    Glennia July 25, 2007 at 9:02 pm

    My boy has been away at Grandma’s house for nearly two weeks, and I have missed him more than I ever thought I could miss someone. I pick him up on the way home from BlogHer, so I’m looking forward to the trip as a diversion to get to real prize at the end. Of course, the opportunity to meet you finally will be a prize in itself! Hope to run into you at some gathering or another.

    Heather July 25, 2007 at 10:14 pm

    Just remember, when they end up on the couch, it will be for something you have no freaking clue you did, something you actually DID, that maybe you even think was a nice thing to do! Like make breakfast (the wrong way) or say SUCH the wrong thing to the prom date. Or something else. It won’t be for the time you left to go to Blogher–promise. Won’t even remember.

    Baby in the City July 25, 2007 at 10:18 pm

    That pic would be GREAT for an album cover – maybe for some bad Spanish trans-euro-pop

    Pgoodness July 25, 2007 at 10:36 pm

    Not only with you both be fine, the return home will be that much sweeter. Have fun!

    The Estrogen Files July 25, 2007 at 10:38 pm

    It’s SO hard to leave them, no matter if it’s the first or 10th time. My kids are on vacation from me this week with grandparents and it’s torture.

    Enjoy your trip, eat some lusciously bad for you food, and hug her TONS when you get back.

    Kyla July 25, 2007 at 11:02 pm

    I know. Oh boy, do I know.

    myminivanisfasterthanyours July 26, 2007 at 12:38 am

    I have come to realize that missing my children when we’re away is not the same as wanting to be with them.

    There, I said it :)

    Kirsten July 26, 2007 at 3:24 am

    Have fun at BlogHer. I can’t even imagine the experience :D And if you do have time to stop in Frankenmuth, pictures please? I went there every year as a teen, and haven’t been able to convince my husband of the wonder that is Bronners.

    Christine July 26, 2007 at 8:28 am

    this was such a sweet, heart tuggy post.

    have fun !

    Andrea July 26, 2007 at 9:10 am

    That picture is totally album cover material. Have fun!

    Tracey July 26, 2007 at 9:46 am

    Oh yes… I’m writing a post today, as my oldest is leaving for a week to go fishing with Daddy… strange….

    CPA Mom July 26, 2007 at 2:30 pm

    “But I’ll still feel, keenly, the stretching of my heart.” Once again, you have articulated my own thoughts in a manner I could not. Thank you Catherine for all that you do. For all that you write. I can’t wait to meet you.

    Fidget July 26, 2007 at 3:57 pm

    the reunion will be great! and the picture – totally album cover

    Tere July 26, 2007 at 4:06 pm

    Oh sister, I feel you on this one. I went through the exact feeling when I traveled alone to NYC last November.

    I spent the flights up and back clutching and looking at two of my favorite pictures of Max.

    Izzy Rose July 26, 2007 at 6:32 pm

    Great picture. Very sweet sentiments. The goodbyes ache, but the reunion will be as lovely as that image.

    Izzy Rose@stepmothersmilk.com

    Fairly Odd Mother July 26, 2007 at 10:20 pm

    I just spent a weekend away from mine and it was so sad to say goodbye! Of course, your post said that sentence much more eloquently. It was also a bit shocking that they did so well without me—what?!?! they can survive without ME????

    I’m not tempted to leave them again but I do wish I could pop into BlogHer to meet all you wonderful writers.

    kittenpie July 30, 2007 at 11:46 am

    Oh god, I hear you. it was so very, very hard, letting her go to run into her room at daycare, happy. Happy. Ack! Both horrible and comforting to see her run off happy. She was, of course, just fine, and when I went into her room at 2:30 am upon our return and stroked her hair and patted her back, she turned over, smiled, and said in her sleep, “mommy.”

    Heather July 30, 2007 at 11:29 pm

    This is a beautiful post.

    You know, there is a law in the world of cardiac nursing known as Starling’s Law that states that the more the heart is stretched, the more effective it is at pumping blood out to the rest of the body.

    Up to a point. Stretch it too much and you end up with heart failure.

    Anyway, my point is, stretching the heart a little to love one’s child while nurturing one’s need for time with friends only serves to make it work that much better. ;-)

    Sorry. We medical professionals sometimes ramble a bit.

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