Monday, 29 March 2010

Mama Mia


Today is both a very sad day and a very happy one. Since becoming a mother I have had several days like this, there was the first day of nursery school when as we walked along he gripped my hand and asked me why he had to go. But when we arrived his face lit up at the sight of other children and all those toys, and he rushed in not looking back. I was so happy that he was happy, but also a little sad that he didn't need me to hang about.

There was the first school trip. And university. Motherhood is to be in a constant state of ambivalence. You work tirelessly to ensure your child will be able to enter the world with confidence, to make yourself redundant, and when that happens you are thrilled as you sit in your empty nest and wonder what to do with yourself.

I've been lucky, Bob came back after university and has been living here with us and working locally. I've had several extra years of baking birthday cakes and chatting with him at the kitchen table over supper. All the while, though, I've been thinking this is no place for the young, there's no space to grow here. But Bob is resourceful. All the while he has been gathering strength, increasing his knowledge, formulating plans.

And now he's off to begin his adventures. On Saturday he got on a bus to London to spend the weekend with his best friends. Today they will take him to the airport so he can get on a plane to Hawaii where he will work on a Noni fruit farm for two months. While he's there he will research where to go next. He wants to see as much of the world as he can. I got an email from him last night that read: 'I am unfathomably excited about tomorrow.' I am too. To think that my child has the confidence to venture so far from home, on his own, into the unknown is amazing and wonderful. I feel like I did a terribly good job. I have every confidence that he is more than capable of looking after himself, and others should the need arise. And I look forward to hearing his tales. But I will miss him every day. I don't suppose he'll be back for some time.

Images from top: Graphics Hunt, Flickr and Wikipedia.


Golden West said...

I know that feeling well... But oh, the adventures he'll have! And with email you'll be a part of it all - the ups and downs and everything in between.

And when he comes home, it'll seem like he never was away, as the house fills again with all his happy noise andhis comings and goings.

Wishing you both well.

Rachel Fox said...

Thrilling and a little heartbreaking.

savannah said...

xoxoxoxox because i so know this feeling, sugar! much love to all y'all, honey. xoxo

Eryl Shields said...

Golden ~ the farm he's going to has no electricity, so I have to hope he'll find somewhere to plug in his laptop. I'm sure he will, and he's set me up with a web-cam so I should be able to get a look at him from time to time.

Rachel ~ that's exactly what it is, X

Savannah ~ thanks sugar, XXXXXXXX

Pat said...

He's not married yet so he's still your little boy. There are many worse places for him to go than Hawaii - I loved it.

Jimmy Bastard said...

Och hen, the bairn will always be there for his mammy, stop your greeting and think of how much time you'll spend not having to do his ironing.

debra said...

Roots and wings! It is glorious!

Eryl Shields said...

Pat ~ you've been, oh good. My only impression of it is from watching Hawaii five 0 in the seventies and it looked like a hotbed of crime!

Jimmy ~ but what will I do instead?!

Debra ~ you have such a good way of putting things.

Lulu LaBonne said...

You have indeed done a good job Eryl, there'll be loads of great stories to look forward to.

Will he bring you any noni back?

angryparsnip said...

A very happy and sad time all at once !
hugs, parsnip

Eryl Shields said...

Lulu ~ thanks, I am very much looking forward to the stories. I hope he does bring me back a noni, it looks rather peculiar but is, apparently, very good for you.

Parsnip ~ it is, and you must know with your son being in Japan. Does it get easier as time goes on?

Mary Witzl said...

My father-in-law always claimed that being a successful parent meant that your kids would happily leave you one day. That parents with kids who stuck around forever hadn't quite managed to do their job right. Cold comfort when you're looking around your empty nest, wondering at the unnatural quiet.

But take heart: nowadays there is FACEBOOK!

Gadjo Dilo said...

"Unfathomably excited" - I like this lad already! I'd not heard of the Noni fruit before, but Wiki describes it as bitter and a "famine food", making me wonder why on earth they farm it in Hawaii.

A Cuban In London said...

What an amazing post. I could feel your pride as a mother overflowing the rim of your blog. He certainly sounds like a confident chap. And how good of him to explore the world and find out what it has to offer before embarking on a more serious venture! Many thanks for this post. As a parent myself, I value insights like yours a lot.

Greetings from London.

Titus said...

Eryl - can't put it any better than Debra, but you gave him the roots so that he could grow his wings and then fly; be proud of yourself and him.
And the world is far more connected than it's ever been, so though it is a very long way you will be able to stay in touch.
Can't take away the sadness - can only suggest chocolate, and I am still giggling over noni fruit as it reminds me of yoni, which is a rude word, I think.

Eryl Shields said...

Mary ~ I completely agree with your father-in-law. Yes, thank goodness for face book and its ilk.

Gadjo ~ I've heard it described as a 'superfood' so maybe some clever Hawaiian has repackaged it for the beauty/health industry.

Cuban ~ his confidence amazes me at times, I can't imagine myself having done such a thing at his age. Though at his age I was his mother already. I've always wanted to travel but never done so.

Glad you found the post insightful, parenting is a difficult business. Though, the most rewarding one I know.

Titus ~ I'll be even sadder if I get fat!

Yoni? I've not heard it, I'll google.

angryparsnip said...

I think it does get easier or at lest it starts to feels like normal.
Japanese son has always been out and about studying at Cambridge, Montana, California, Arizona then Japan. So for him to be gone is quite normal. He is 31 so this has been going since he was 18.
We are lucky to visit back and forth so that helps.

With only one child it is a-bit harder, no ?

W.C.Camp said...

Your post rang true with me as a Father. I have loved every stage of being a parent though at times it has been difficult. Great post though. I really enjoyed your heartfelt recollections. I reflected on this topic myself. Take care. - W.C.C.


Eryl Shields said...

Parsnip ~ visiting must be great. I love it when Bob phones, or emails, me to tell me about something because he thinks I'll like it or be interested. Nice that they still think of their mothers even when they are off doing marvellous things.

Yes, I wish I'd had ten now!

W.C. Camp ~ thank you, I will come and see what you have to say. I think being a parent is the best thing and the most difficult thing I've done. The absolute most rewarding and I'm so glad I did it, I wouldn't give it up for anything.

Coffee with Cathy said...

What a lovely post! I've got a struggling-to-find-herself college grad at home now, and while I so enjoy the company -- we have great fun together -- I know she needs to find some answers of her own. Thanks for letting me know it WILL happen!