Thursday, January 17, 2013

Far From Home

California is full of transplants. Many of my friends live far from home. A few have moved back home to be with family. I have not. It has been 12 years since I left Connecticut and my whole family. My mother just left us after visiting for a month and as she left, it was like home left with her. My entire being wanted to collapse and cry. I was driving on the 405 so I did not, but I crumpled and withered inside instead.
It's miserable being far away from my family of origin. As much as they can drive me crazy, they are from whence I came. I love her. I love all of my family, and to be faraway from them seems, at time like the most back-asswards way of living in the world. I can justify it with the golden opportunities we have here, my husband's great job, his family and all our cousins and the short distance to the beach and the snowy mountains. Then of course, there is the weather. The almost endlessly sunny days that lull us into a California coma of "we can do anything" because we can. We can plan a birthday party out doors in January at a park and get away with it. I can justify living here for the pure adventure of it all, but nothing makes being away from your Momma right.

Moments after she left I thought about what she said she wished for me, to "smile more and relax take care of yourself first." My first thought, was we are just different. I am a "doer" and she doesn't get that I just feel better when I am busy. She is more of a go with the flow, mosey along and stop and smell the roses kind of gal. But then I thought about who she was when she was with us. She was of complete service. All she did was ask what she could do for us. She had her times of making art and relaxing on the back patio chatting with her friends, but for the most part, she lives her entire life to make others happy. She helped us by cooking, sweeping, playing with the boys so my husband and I could talk or work, and she made art with our 4 year old to prevent tantrum disasters.

Meanwhile, I often plunked away on my laptop, writing email after email to plan the national Moms Across America March to Label GMOs. I dashed about, volunteering, prepping for den meetings and hopping on calls with national leaders. The urgency to "get things done" was fed by the knowledge that I had a loving and free child care helper and I had better get done what I could, while I could.
After she left, I missed her and instead of wishing she would be any other way other than how she is (like for her to stop encouraging me to slow down and relax), I realized that the difference between her and I was zero. Although she was not working regularly to better her nation or the world, like I am obsessed to do, she is of total service to her family. And that is no less important. She gives of herself more fully and generously than anyone I know.

I cried to myself and a friend that I asked to commiserate with me, because I realized that on many days, I took advantage of her being here rather than taking advantage of being with her.

My mother's visit often seems like an opportunity for me to relax just a little bit in my motherly mom will often make breakfast for my kids while I sleep in just a half hour later, or wash the dishes while I talk to my husband alone after dinner or work on the Moms March after the kids get home from school because I know my Mom will play with them. But after she leaves I am filled with regret for not taking the opportunity to relax and just be with her.

My friend acknowledged my feelings and then gave me the freedom I as looking for from the heaviness I felt. She reminded me my sorrow came from my vast love for my mother. It is a breakdown for me that I was a brat to my mother even once while she was here. It is painful for me to be away from her. That is a miracle of love. My sorrow became my access to relief. I am grateful to have that love for my mother and be present to the contribution she is to us all...even for a month or a day out of the year...far from home.

Zen Honeycutt

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