summer 2011

summer 2011

Paul and I, all 16 kids and Ashley, Benjamin's wife...Christmas 2012

Paul and I, all 16 kids and Ashley, Benjamin's wife...Christmas 2012

Monday, January 6, 2020

the achy break-y heart of mothering...

Suzanne is moving to California, leaving tonight. That simple statement doesn't give away the grief, the sadness, the slipping-through-my-fingers feeling...
The last pic is with Kathryn, when she visited in the summer.

So here we are again, another one leaving home. It doesn't mean I won't see her, because it's always on my radar to go to California to see the boys. But once they leave home, it's never the same. They come back to visit, and see the house through different eyes.

So of the sixteen kids, only Sonja, Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, and Camille...25% of them, ha. Now for some people, four kids at home might seem like a lot. And it IS a lot, but we are rattling around like peas in a pod. We have four empty bedrooms.

Everything is such drama with me. Kids grow up, stand on their own two feet, parents get old, and maybe downsize, and life goes on. But my life has been so defined by motherhood. So many years of nurturing and nagging. Each of those babies born and placed into my arms, rocked and nourished, reluctantly sent out the door to school, growing strong and independent, until one day, poof! Our home becomes, "Mom and Dad's house".

When the older ones come here, it's happy, it's good, it gets loud and silly and overflowing, and I love it. But it'll never be the same, as it was when they were all here at home. In fact, I wonder if they'll all even ever be here at the same time again. I wonder if our last family pic will actually be our last, as they grow and have their own families.

The goal in having children is basically to help them reach the place where they can stand on their own two feet, help them to reach adulthood, to be responsible, upstanding citizens.

But mama here has formed attachments. I've given my all, loved them and focused on them, cared so deeply. Part of me screams, "Please don't leave me! Don't go so far away!" All these days of seeing you, all these Good Mornings and afternoon coffees and daily interactions, we knew they were finite, yet the end of them hurts me deeply.

I know I am a drama queen, I do know that. You just cannot imagine how sad I am that Suzanne is leaving home. She cannot possibly fathom how much I care for her, how much I'll miss her as she pursues her dreams.

Living in the these times, being able to keep in touch so easily, does help. But once they leave home, it's never the same.

This morning, Suzanne will come upstairs, she will maybe wash a few dishes, she'll have coffee with me, maybe we'll go to the store one last time, as we are running out of coffee filters and sandwich baggies, and have only a half gallon of milk. But later today, she is leaving, and in the wee hours of the morning, she will get on that plane, and that will be it.

I wonder why we moms have to love our kids so much, so much that it hurts. I wish I could go back in time, and give my own mom a big hug, because now I understand a bit more. I would listen more when she started in on her, "when you were little...", instead of rolling my eyes like my kids do now.

Anyway. Evelyn is going on a trip out to visit Miss Kathryn and Darius, and their new baby, I'm bringing her to the airport on Friday.

Paul is probably going on a work trip this month, and I am hoping to go on a girls' getaway weekend at the end of this month. We need a trip to the library, to stock up on books for Jonathan. Camille is sick, she had a flu shot this year, but has a fever and a slight cough. She spent the last few days on the couch, and did not go to school this morning. I hope Suzanne doesn't catch it, no fun traveling while sick.

Anyway. Life is good, even with the sadness. I am going to the pool tonight, for a deep water arthritis class, with my friend Angela.


Susan said...

I think I must have missed something, is Suzanne getting married?
Good job Della for teaching your birds not to fear flying.

16 blessings'mom said...

Susan, no, Suzanne is not getting married. She is moving to California...

Hena Tayeb said...

Its never easy seeing them leave.

momto9 said...

I can only sigh. Yes 4 here too. But mine is 4 from the 9 and yours a lot more . You have done such a good job! 💕

cotton and may said...

I only have four but I know I will feel the same when each one leaves so I can only imagine how you must be feeling. I love this quote by st Therese of lisieux "the loveliest masterpiece of the heart of God is the heart of a mother." God bless !

Lisa said...

My heart hurts for you as I read this. I feel EXACTLY the same way about my 10. I only have one left at home. I feel that although they all lived here at the same time for years, the older ones started leaving home when he was still so little and he has missed out on the "one big family under one roof" dynamic that the older ones had for as long as they could remember. We have holidays in recent years that were fantastic and fun and the house was packed to the rooftop - but not for the past few because they can never seem to coordinate being here all at the same time anymore and it just hurts so deeply that things have changed so much. We KNOW that life goes on and we try to accommodate as much as possible and we DO have good times with them as adults, but IT WILL NEVER BE THE SAME. I look at pictures of the kids in my house when they all lived here and I just yearn for what was. I know it was alot of work, and I know most people thought I was nuts because 2 kids will always be more socially acceptable than 10 kids or more. I know the goal is to send them off - but down the road sounds alot better than across the country - or to another country (Mexico) like my oldest. I don't talk to people around me about this because I feel like I'm the oddball - everyone else counts down the years until they're "free" of the responsibility and can go on to live their own lives without the burden of day to day parenting - but that's all I've done for the last 34 years and I honestly don't know who I am without being a Mom. It was my JOB all these years and not one I'm willing to let go of so easily - even though having a break from the grief and sorrow of their leaving would be a relief right about now. Please know that I share your Mama heart. I hope it gets easier.

16 blessings'mom said...

Hena, no it isn't. Even if they move to town, it changes things.
Tereza, only four now! Wow. It's like that hustle and bustle was so temporary, but only looking at it from now, when they were all home it WAS a bit crazy, right? But wonderful, too.
Lisa, well, you are not an oddball. It's hard, it's been the definition of my life too, for all these years. The grandchildren are being born, and I do love a chance to play a game of Candyland or rock a little one to sleep...but it is still not the same. One of my daughters was just saying over Christmas..."it'll never be the same..." If someone could have told me this ten, fifteen years ago, well, I guess I wouldn't have really believed it, but honestly, I am still sort of in shock about how quickly they've grown up.
ouch. When Suzanne walked out the door with her suitcases and backpack yesterday, I cried buckets.