Mothering Monday- When Your Mother is Not Around the Corner

Archived Post from 06/06/11: I wrote this after a trip to Newfoundland to see my family.  I've re-posted it today and updated the pictures because I'm feeling glum...My birthday is tomorrow, and I always miss my Mother more on that special day.  After becoming a mother myself, I realized that birthdays aren't only about the person celebrating another year of life.  It is just as special to the Mom who carried you and gave you life.
My Sixth Birthday-1981
That's me standing in the blue dress.
 The hardest part about living so far away from my mom? Living so far away from my mom...Distance is one of the reasons I waited so long to have children of my own.  I knew that parenthood would be one of the most special and important events to ever occur in my life. For many years I couldn't bear the thought of not being able to share those special day to day moments with my family.  Before becoming a mother, it was hard enough to wait for and count the days till my next trip.  As a teacher I have watched many children grow up and move on in life.  There is a certain sadness and joy all at once in meeting up with a child that you once held as a babe, now years later meet as a gap-toothed awkward pre-teen.  Children grow up so fast, I knew that my annual family visits would not be adequate for me and that separation would seem magnified to the Nth degree.
Annual Camping Trip-1980

We have been home from our vacation for nearly a week and I have to admit that I am quite depressed.  This is usual and par for the course when coping with long-distance relationships.  The mewling beast of loneliness growls in my belly, and claws its way up to spill through tears.  These don't offer any relief.  I have been making this pilgrimage since I was 17 years old.  Do you think I could have found a successful way to cope by now?  Normally I would be throwing myself into piles of work, and social engagements.  That along with lots of decluttering and cleaning would almost distract me enough to settle back into routine, and quietly wait until the next year's family trip countdown.  This coping method worked for me last year and many years before.

What is different this year?  My little girl is now almost two years old.  She remembers her special visit from a few days ago and points to family pictures around our home. During our two week visit she had learned names and made up nicknames:
Nanny- "Nanny find you?"
Poppy- "Poppy gone?"
Auntie- "Auntie Baby?" and "Auntie Car Car"
Uncle- "Man-o gone"
Cousin- "Hannah-girl gone."

Little One has been going from room to room looking for her "lost" family.  Her questions and occasional distress make me cry.  I try to hide this from her, but she sees the tears and hears the sniffles. Sweet Girl wraps her arms around me and says, "Mommy cry" then rests her head on my shoulder and pats my back.  I realize that I have done myself a terrible disservice in waiting so long to have a baby. I seem to punish myself for choosing a long-distance life.  This little girl is teaching me how to tackle tough emotional issues head-on.  She asks the tough questions, then expresses true responses when the answer is not what she hoped it would be.  The disappointment is dealt with head on.  Then her life carries on and she is able to express unsuppressed joy over the simplest of things. 

So on this Monday I have resolved to stop the pity party I have wallowed in because I can't see my family every time I want.  We are blessed to be able to talk to our loved ones and connect in other ways.  I know that we need to focus on positive ways to nurture these long-distance relationships.

Phone Calls
Scrap booking
Photo Albums
Letters & Cards
Pictures & Emails

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