Saturday, August 22, 2015

Get a tissue

Dear Wesley,

What an amazing person you are. I am so proud of you and to call myself your father. It's been  23 years ago since your mom and I were alone and on a grand adventure in Canada, in the west meadow. Which is where you and your name came from. We came home from that trip with a whole new plan. And no idea what it would entail.

Now you are a grown lady. It's hard for us to accept that you are all grown up and moving on. But that's normal I guess. We're worried that we weren't good enough parents, and that we can't take care of you anymore. And that we can't be there if you have problems, or don't feel well, or are scared and confused. We know you can do it. We may not show it very well, because we don't want to give up our job of making everything ok. It's hard for us to accept, but we'll do it in time. After your first real breath of freedom, you are going to be just fine and we will too. You are a strong, smart, talented person with a huge heart. That will go a long way in your life........................

Yesterday morning Wesley was sitting on her bed crying, reading this letter that her dad stayed up half the night to write to her. I was sitting on the back porch crying, Gerry was walking around like he had lost something and was trying to find it. Poor Lazarus was packing the car and trying to tip toe around all of the tears. Then his tears came too.

They are on their way to the west coast now. Left early yesterday morning. We finally got our act together  enough to say goodbye with smiles on all of our faces. I have only seen Gerry cry three times in the 30 years I have known him. Two were when we buried beloved dogs, and then yesterday. I finally had to stop my pity party to help him get through his. We were one hot mess. I had hoped to send her off without her seeing me cry, but there was no holding back the wave after wave of tears and pain that came. I was numb with pain. Usually I can keep it together, give her support and encouragement and smile through it all. But I couldn't do a thing. Normally I would have sent her off with food, homemade muffins, a letter or card, a small gift. Nothing. I just stood there feeling like I was floating out of my body. I have never felt so helpless in my life. Child comforting parent with reassurance and hugs. First time for that....

The day did get better, I went to work, there was laughter. My best pal Laura came and took me to lunch. It was delicious, more laughter, and a weight off my shoulder as I accepted being a mom with a child living far away.

The other day I was sitting with my hard drive looking at old photos of Wes. She came in and said, Why would you do that to yourself? Why indeed..... These are some of my favorites. She was strong and happy and so talented during the time these photos were made. These were her best friends. She was in high school without a care in the world. No boyfriends, no rent due, no roommates, no meals to prepare, laundry to do. Mom and dad taking care of her. And then she went to UNCSA and spent four of the hardest years of her young life trying to survive. She came home 10 pounds thinner, ridden with anxiety and emotional instability and a new relationship. If only I could turn back the clock and give her back these moments of pure bliss. Singing on the stage at The Cat's Cradle. My beautiful child.

After they left, I found Gerry sitting on her bed, tears in his eyes. And somehow, my tears stopped. She was gone. No turning back. And so Gerry and I started making plans for things we will do. Maybe a trip to the Outer Banks this fall. We want to go to Switzerland. Maybe fly to Ca. to see Wes. Many things to look forward to, just the two of us again.

It is right and natural that a child leaves when they become an adult. Not sure how much of an adult Wesley is just yet, but she will grow up fast on this trip. They are doing many things that we would not choose to do. Driving an really old car across Texas, New Mexico and Arizona in August for one.  We fear the car won't make it. We fear for a lot of things. Moving to the most expensive county in the U.S. without a job or a place to live, very little money for the trip, learning to find her way as an adult without mom and dad. Lord have mercy, why do we have to go through this growing up shit!!!

There was one thing though. Yesterday morning around 7am.....
We have a family of deer, mom, sister, aunt and baby. They come to see us everyday. Two days ago, all four of them just laid down in our backyard for about an hour. Never have seen them do this. Then yesterday morning, mom, the one we know so well, came into the yard, looked straight at us, and in that moment, it was like she was saying let go, she will be fine. I do it all the time.
And so the deer became our totem. Our spirit animal. I looked it up:

Messages and Lessons Deer Totem

If Deer has suddenly bounded into your life as a Lesson or Messenger Guide, then she's likely alerting you to the fact that you're about to encounter an event or situation that will require you to make rapid decisions, and to react swiftly and with agility to your shifting environment. But she's also cautioning you not to lose your head in the process, and to follow her example of being graceful under pressure. Doing so will enable you to be ready to employ the best action to fit the situation at hand.
She's also likely surfaced at this time in your life journey to advise you that you're entering a time in which there will be increased activity. She would suggest that you keep your eyes wide open and your ears alert so that you may make the most of the opportunities that are on their way to you, as well as to avoid any situations which would not be in your best interest to undertake.
And lastly, when Deer surfaces in your life as a Messenger or Lesson Guide, then she is asking you to take a look at your blessings. Fill your heart, your very being with a sense of deep gratitude for all of the miraculous gifts that are at work in your life. From the smallest to the largest, take inventory of those abundant riches, and then, give thanks for them, not only in words alone, but through your actions as you “pay forward” the abundance that has come into your life. In this way, you assist Deer in her important work to keep the cycle of giving, receiving, and re-gifting going.

I think that about says it all.
Travel fearlessly my little deer


cookingwithgas said...

My friend, I get this. The only two times my Mark cried with such sadness was when his kids started their life from us.
It's going to be fine.
Really it is.
You are so blessed with goodness.
Much love.

oldgreymareprimitives said...

Oh How I remember. NYC 6 years ago this week. We had just settled DD into her dorm and walked back downstairs with her "just met" 4 roommates. The roommates were all going out for dinner to get acquainted. I was flying out the next day. DD hesitated and I said "no go," have fun and with tears, and roommates waiting we kissed and hugged goodbye on a bustling street corner and I headed the opposite direction dragging 2 huge empty suitcases back down 14 blocks to my hotel.... sobbing the whole way..with folks giving me a wide berth as I passed. The Bowery Street Mission was on the way and the doors were open and I could see all the homeless men in ragged clothes standing in the pews trying to follow the music. I stopped and let that scene and sound wash over me in waves and finally I caught my breath and walked the last 3 blocks. Later that night my cell rang and DD was calling to make sure I was alright. and I was, knowing that she was embarking on a wondrous adventure.

You never stop missing them. I still cry every time the kids drive away and DD cries when I leave LA..

But we raised strong independent kids. We gave them the tools, shared our wisdom, and they will be alright... and they still call with the MoM? Dad? what do I ? when should I? How do I? and you are needed once more.

It is scary, it is lonely at times, often sad, but It's alright..even when your kids leave for Yosemite this Wednesday with recent bear attacks and outbreaks of the plague in gonna be alright.

Whenever this fear or sadness grips me, my mind goes to Eye On The Prize by the Emmaus Group Singers.. (Spotify)
It fills me up and I know once more everything is gonna be alright..everything is gonna be alright. I pass this song on now to you. May it lift you up and ready you for your new adventures.


Tracey Broome said...

Meredith, you are a great example of life with kids after they leave. You still share so much time and joy with them, I look forward to years of the same.
Suzan, I remember your blog from NY. I also see how your relationship continues long distance. My blogger friends are helping me weather this storm, that's for sure. We did raise some good kids!
But.... Wait..... Yosemite.... Bear, plague.... WHAT?! Oh boy.......

smartcat said...

I truly believe that letting Proge go away to high school was the best thing in the world for, but terrible for me. We were a close family, but we knew he needed more experience in life than he would be getting staying at home in the woods. I always felt that if he wanted to live in the woods when he was thirty after experience in the world that would be great. But if he stayed in the woods because he had never learned anything else it would be very bad indeed.
The more freedom you are willing to give, the deeper the relationship will become. Proge has been living with me for many years now, but it would not be possible if he hadn't been on his own for so many years.
All this is by way of saying that your relationship with Wesley will change, grow stronger and open new possibilities in all your lives.
But there will be days of feeling completely empty inside so get yourself a really good long distance calling plan in addition to Skype if you don't already have it.

Vicki said...

As parents, we all know “that” day will come.
It’s inevitable. And necessary.
We do the very best we can to raise a “good” human being.

Years of joy, sadness, trials, tribulations and achievements seem to rush by in an instant, and we find ourselves waving them away into the big unknown.
No matter how much we think we have prepared ourselves for that moment, we are wracked with tears, and fears.

But, we owe it to our beautiful children to recognise their need for wings to fly when they are ready. And, to support the decisions they make.

Remember, a tree’s roots grow stronger and deeper as the wind blows against them, and they mature into steady individuals.
You and Gerry have done an incredible job with Wesley. She has a deep, strong foundation, and will endure, no matter how much the winds of change may buffet her resolve sometimes.
She will bend and sway gracefully as she accepts her challenges.

And, one day, it will be her turn to create a life. She will bestow her goodness into them.
The world needs people like her.

As we nurture our children, we sometimes put our selves on the back burner.
Life will now take another turn, as you and Gerry “discover” each other in a rich, fulfilling way. Take time out (and away) to enjoy this new chapter in your lives, knowing you’ve done a fine, fine job...

jbf said...

When we dropped Stephanie off at WCU four years ago we realized we were taking the first step in her leaving home and it was emotional. When we dropped Meredith off at college in PA two years ago it was that same step with her plus the one of coming home to an empty nest.

For the first month it was devastatingly quiet in the house and we missed them terribly. We still miss them terribly, but we have fallen into a different but comfortable rhythm around here in the last two years. Have I mentioned that we still miss them terribly?

Stephanie is (reluctantly) staying with us for a while because she just (last week) got a job teaching fifth grade seven minutes from our house. She can't wait to start life on her own and plans on moving out of state at some point to see what other places have to offer.

Since they took their first tentative steps as toddlers our goal has been to make them strong, independent adults. I don't know how we did it, if we did anything right; but something worked out and they seem to be exactly that.

As parents we need to give them the tools they will require and send them on their way. It doesn't mean we stop loving them, missing them, worrying about them, or helping them any way we can. And as they become the people they are and your heart almost bursts with pride we can take joy in the fact we were there when they took those first tentative steps.

Lori Watts said...


Lori Buff said...

You all seem to have a very strong family bond. I can’t imagine how you all are feeling even after I read these words but I think the message of the deer is correct.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Tracey…
I've already begun looking longingly at baby photos.
Love& hope to all of you.

Michèle Hastings said...

I hope that the sadness has eased a little for you and Gerry, and that you are now excited for the phone calls you receive to share in her cross country adventure.
Exciting and scary times ahead.

Tracey Broome said...

Hey Everyone, thanks you so much for the comments and good wishes, I'm slowly coming back to the real world haha!

zarena cantik said...

perfect perfect fried rice, good post for the beginners as well..Super Prema, loved the presentation very much
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