I received my very first Mother’s Day card in the mail yesterday; it was from my in-laws (Thanks, Carol). This is my first Mother’s Day, although officially, I’m still just a mother-to-be.
When I was home visiting my family two weekends ago, I got emotional saying good-bye to my mom. I used to tear-up every time we said good-bye. I’ve lived away from her for a long time. First, it was only five-and-a-half hours away at college. Then, I moved to the Pacific Northwest, half-way across the country and I only saw my parents twice a year – once at Christmas and usually once during the summer.
In the last seven, almost eight years, I’ve moved from Portland, Oregon to Boston. Still half-way across the country, just the other side. Then it was to Providence, and for nearly five years now I’ve settled in Philadelphia. I’m still lucky if I see my family twice a year. Last year was an exception.
It just makes me sad to be so far from my parents and sister. When I gave my mom a hug good-bye this last time, I knew I wouldn’t see her again until after the baby was born. She and Dad are planning to drive from Central Illinois to Philly shortly after they get the news of arrival. “Take care of youself,” she said. “I’m sure you’ll be fine, everything will be fine.”
The next thing I knew I was practically sobbing. I just wanted my mommy in that moment. How does she know I’ll be fine? I’ve never done this before. I don’t know what I’m doing.
I wanted my mommy to come to Philly with me, and be with me at the hospital, to hug me and tell me everything is going to be okay. I realize that’s what Tim is for. He will be there. He will hold my hand, stroke my hair and tell me everything will be okay. But there’s just something about a mom that I can’t put into words. She’s known me my whole life, and she’s gone through this all before. She’s the one who made everything better when I was younger – the one who stroked my hair.
I don’t know that I’ve appreciated my mom more than I did in that moment. Mom saw that I was upset and assured me she could fly out earlier if I needed her. I don’t think that will be necessary, but it’s nice to have the option.
I’m sure my mother is sad that both of her daughters live so far away. I am in Philadelphia, and my sister in LA. Several years ago she made a comment to the point, “Why do you want to live so far from me?” It broke my heart. It’s not that we want to live far away, it’s that we can. She and my father raised us to be leaders and creative thinkers, and to believe that anything was possible. They encouraged us to travel and experience the history and culture that surrounds us.
While thinking about this post and looking through the limited collection of childhood photos I have here in Philly (my parents have albums and albums at their house), I ran across this poem I wrote in a Book Arts class a couple of years ago.
I’m sorry I live
so far away.
It’s because you
did your job
And raised two confident,
It’s because of you that
we can live away.
But we don’t live away
because of you.