Holding my granddaughter close, i held my daughter again. I did tell her that, at one point; it felt imperative that she really gets how fiercely and tenderly I love her, loved her, will always love her. But I was careful, too, and even so, I got rebuffed one or twice, gently sometimes, with barely disguised impatience, even irritation, at others. She needs to be the Mom now, the adult; she can't afford to be my baby when she has to close up a house, cancel the car insurance and sign the transfer papers, get the cat to the vet and then to the pet transfer company, and stop by the bank to sort out accounts. And, oh yes, weigh those two humongous bags again to make sure they squeak under the 23-kilogram limit. Never mind the 50 pounds she's somehow wheedled into her two allowed carry-on pieces and the baby's diaper bag. Oh, and where are those passports and the printed itinerary?
To my shame, and with no hope now of possible reparation, I remember my parents dropping me off at the Vancouver Airport many years ago. I'd come for a short visit, a solo break from our busy family life in Prince Rupert, six or seven months pregnant, I think, with either our 3rd or our 4th. My dad dropped Mom and I at Departures and went to park the car. I grabbed my bag, only to find that Mom was already carrying it. She would have been in her mid-50s then, thin and wiry as she always was, very fit from walking and constant gardening. Strong enough to lift my bag, certainly. And I knew that-- she and my dad backpacked around Europe for six months within a year or two of her picking up my suitcase that day.
But I bristled, I think, at the suggestion that my pregnancy made me unable to carry my own luggage (ignoring somehow the reality that my mother, who'd borne ten children, surely knew the limits of pregnancy well). And I said to her something very like "oh, for heaven's sake! Even pregnant, I'm sure I'm stronger than you." I didn't actually say "at your age" but those unspoken words might as well have been echoed from the airport's concrete walls. Certainly, they're still echoing inside me, almost ten years older than she would have been, knowing full well that I could pick that bag up now, just as she could have then, had I been gracious enough to allow it.
So I know something of what R. was feeling yesterday, and I understand, painfully, a bit more of what my mother must have felt all those years ago. Luckily, my daughter didn't snap anything so unkind at me. I'd love to think that's because I've been better at boundaries than my mom was, but I doubt it. For all the mistakes I hoped to avoid, I suspect I've only made different ones. And not with any more love. Ah, mom....
It's almost Mother's Day and my daughter will spend her first official one in another country, and I will, myself, be far from home. My sister and I will probably lift a glass in Paris to toast and remember our mother.... And I will be a bit tearful, perhaps, to be so far from my children. But I'll also remind myself that they are wonderful, independent adults, raising my wonderful still-dependent grandchildren. Some of whom I will have to visit in Rome. Sigh...
|Frankie naps in her stroller on our long walk yesterday while her mom ran errands.|
And I will definitely take time to read any comments you have time to leave, althgh I may not find time to answer them. Not sure how much I'll be posting from Paris, but I suspect my Instagram account will be busy. Link is top of the right-hand column, if you're interested.