Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Mothers and Daughters

 After three weeks off to nurse his elbow, Tim texted me after his doctor's appointment to tell me that he was headed back to work tomorrow morning. He was on his way to work to drop the clearance paperwork off with his supervisor. He said that he wanted to head out after that and do a bit of hunting this afternoon. 

"I'll go ahead and run to the store and get you lunch makings right after work then," I replied. 

Usually the place is packed but it wasn't. When I got to the deli, I was the only customer, which was very nice. There was no one at the counter, but I waited, and it wasn't long before a woman came bustling by. "I'll be right with you. We're short handed, and I'm doing the deli and the bakery. " 

"You're fine. I don't mind waiting." And that was the truth, too. Everyone is short handed these days and the people who are there don't need a bunch of guff from the customers. 

The woman bustled back over and said, "What can I do for you?" 

I asked for two pounds of the turkey, sandwich sliced, and divided between two bags. "I hope I don't sound like one of those customers..." and she laughed. "No, you don't," she said. "That's a pretty common request."

And so we chit chatted while she sliced my turkey, and then while she sliced the cheese. She said that she really enjoyed being busy. "What else have I got to do? My kids are both in college. They need the money." 

She mentioned that her daughter had decided on a school in Connecticut. You could tell she was struggling with that. She said "If I want to go visit her, it's three days of travel time added on to the length of the visit, and that's a lot of work to miss."

Wistfully, she said, "She's not so good at communication," and trailed off. 

I recognized that. Those are hard years to be a parent. Your kids are running full tilt to claim their independence and the last thing they want is their parents. So I said, "It's a tough time. You just have to keep reminding yourself that you raised them to be independent, and now it's time to watch them fly." 

She said, "You're right."

I said, "If it is any consolation, my youngest lives overseas, and I haven't seen her for nearly 3 years. I know that she's happy. That helps, but still..." 

We talked about our girls a bit, and when she handed me the packages of meat and cheese, she said, "Thank you." 

I knew she wasn't talking about my purchase. 

"Good luck to you," I said, 

I finished my shopping and I was glad for that little conversation. I've been missing my daughter a lot. 

"You just have to keep reminding yourself that you raised them to be independent, and now it's time to watch them fly." 

 Sometimes I need to hear me say those words out loud too. 


  1. I hope I remember this post when it is my turn.

  2. I really missed my kids when they left the house. My daughter lives in Chicago and my son lives on the west coast. Covid? You don't see them.

  3. Thank you for this post. I don't see my sons as much as I'd like but I did raise them to be independent and good husbands. I needed to be reminded of that.

  4. I only wish my mother felt as you do. She couldn't wait to leave us all behind.

  5. Jaycee ~ that one tugged at my heart. My mother never forgave me for leaving.

    I was over at Highriser.blogspot.com and the discussion came up of sexuality being on a spectrum. The first time that I'd ever thought of it in those terms. Your comment and my experience make me see mothering in that way. Huh.

  6. We can be very clever with offering wise words to others, but we understand better when we turn the wise words back on ourselves. The children fly free, but come back to the fold in their mature years.

  7. It's so great (and rare) when a simple transaction turns into a meaningful conversation!

  8. Since my mother died four days after my high school graduation (and my father six years prior to that), it gave me a totally different perspective of that "separation" period. So... I didn't really have anything to draw on when it came time to let mine go. How nice that you were in the right place at the right time to offer that woman encouragement.

  9. It is hard when children are farther away and you don't get to see them often. My daughter is 3 hours away and has had Covid for the last 10 days and it has been rough on her (and me)! I wish I could do more to help her besides texts and phone calls. She is on the mend but it has been a worrisome time.
    It is nice that you and the deli person were able to support each other!

  10. My youngest live on the other side of the world from me in Australia and even with technology allowing us contact I still miss him dreadfully. But as you say, we raised them to be independent and I fully encouraged him in his dream and he has a great life there, I just have to remind myself once in a while! You probably helped that woman in the deli more than you know. x

  11. in the natural world of yore, families lived in close proximity. Geographical mobility was largely unheard of. They stuck together and were there for each other both in times of crisis and in times of joy.

  12. That distancing, and pushing-away, that teenagers and young adults do even to loving parents is hard to take but you are absolutely right -- they usually come around as they mature. In the meantime it's a bit heartbreaking at times, and it does help to be reminded that it's a normal part of gaining independence. Thank you. -Kate

  13. You are so kind to comfort that mom. I do remember still how we felt after our kids both left home. I'm sorry you have to be so far from your daughter. And yes, I know how that feels too. Sigh...


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