My mom came to visit for spring break. We had no real plans, except to just “hang out” everyday. We whittled away the days with conversation, pedicures, shopping, playing games with the kids, wine and good food. Then we’d crawl into bed at 11pm to channel surf until midnight, then do it all over again at 8am the next morning. It was like a vacation – only I wasn’t on vacation.
In my head I still worried about laundry, meal plans, errands and deadlines. I have a 5pm article deadline today that is struggling to come to fruition. My posts this week have been few and far between. There is a basket of items in my closet waiting to be sorted for either the Salvation Army or the basement, and my craft room looks like a construction zone.
I had a hard time ignoring my life, in order to enjoy life.
Living so far from family changes your relationship. I knew that moving to Michigan would require a lot of relational sacrifices, but I wasn’t prepared fully for the feeling of daily loss. Our parents stay for an extended period of time instead of being able to enjoy weekly Sunday brunch, Friday night pizza and game nights, or send the kids over for a sleepover. I am grateful that we are able to see them as much as we do, although four times a year is still not enough. But I struggle with how to define our time together – there feels like a fine line between family and guest. I want the house to be immaculate. I want the meals to be superb. I want the activities to be memory makers. But if they lived in town, I know there would be times someone would drop by just to say hi and see our house very lived in: laundry piles waiting to go in the washer, breakfast dishes still in the sink, beds unmade. There would be nights that we would pop open a box of Mac & Cheese while they babysit because I was in too much of a hurry to make a meal from scratch. Occasionally someone would show up to help clean, sort boxes or take a trip to Salvation Army because they remembered what it was like to be a young busy mom. Or DW would have his dad around to help cross off more items from his “honey-do” list. There would be afternoons that our special lunch together is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich because I hadn’t made it to the grocery store yet. And it would be okay to say, “Can we get together later?” because later would be tomorrow, and not a few months from now.
Tears trickled down my cheeks as I tightly hugged my mom goodbye at the airport. The days flew by too quickly. I miss her. I miss what I don’t have and I miss what I do have…if that makes any sense. I feel like I let my personal daily agenda and uptight personality get in the way of enjoying her when she visits. I worry too much about things that are always going to need my attention, things that undoubtedly could wait. Because before we know it, the week is over and I have to say goodbye. Again.
She will be back in May to see The Tortoise perform in her school play. Hopefully I will be more relaxed and less distracted. Hopefully I will not waste my time worrying about laundry and toilets. Hopefully, we will order more take-out.