A leap of faith


It happened that fast. She was here with me, under the leaky umbrella of my best and somewhat haphazard maternal devotions and now she’s gone. I shouldn’t be surprised; I’ve always said there was some sort of alien switcharoo in the nursery and look, see what’s happened? She’s found herself an alien.

I joined Abby and Misha and Grey for dinner last night, as a guest in their home. How odd and awkward. She met him at work about a year and a half ago, when he was first here from Russia. She hasn’t talked about him all that much, playing her cards close to the vest, shark that she is. She knew I would poke and probe and pry.

At their apartment, they have a porch with three green plastic chairs and two bicycles chained to the rail. They have a view of the bay but no microwave. They have four plates and four cups and four bowls and a press board entertainment center scrounged from a friend and they have a queen size bed. They don’t have cable TV and they don’t have a telephone-type telephone. They do have post-its on every single thing in the house with Russian words on them. There was no beer or wine in the refrigerator; in fact there was very little in there because they both have part time jobs working at fancy hotels where they get free food. They have lots of books and CDs and Abby’s state-of-the-art Leica telescope on the entertainment center. They have enough bits and pieces from Africa and Russia and a piece of Daniel’s artwork to make it feel comfortably home-like. They have a cat with a litter box but when we looked under the bed for the cat, they have no dirty clothes or dust bunnies under there. Just a cat. And they have each other.

It’s unimaginable, really. One of her more alien-like traits has been her lack of interest in boyfriends. I mean, she has always had many boy friends– they’ve numbered as many as her girl friends, if not more. She doesn’t have a history of being a girly girl. Only nano seconds of Barbies, mall hanging and makeup, no sticky relationship triangles, no gossip or giddy whispering. She has preferred to run and dive and climb and backpack and kayak. Play lacrosse and football. Even as a young child, she has wanted the freedom to travel hither and yon.

She had a brief stint with the infamous Putz- the one where I considered all of the angles involved in hiring a hitman, but at some point I listened to a wise friend who suggested Abby was attracted to the total lack of expectations other than being “pretty” and that, left alone, she would move on and I wouldn’t have to spend life in prison. He was in her life at a time when she was making her move away from home, out of state and into independence. Sure enough, once she was settled into her new phase of life, he was history.

Perhaps this is a phase, too. Who knows? Does one become fluent in a new language with a different alphabet for just a phase? The lack of dirty clothes or dishes under the bed suggests that this is a different sort of phase. The financial independence and the fiscal responsibility, the confident and organized approach to figuring out school and work schedules all smell strangely new to me. The affectionate glances and comfortable pats as they move about the kitchen cause me to turn away and while I don’t exactly cringe, something deep in my сердце shifts.

These days, as discouraging as it is, even marriage itself can be a passing phase. Heaven knows, I’ve dreamed about her having a marriage made in Heaven for a lifetime and I definitely don’t want her to go through the pain involved in the ending of something serious. And Heaven knows, I want more than anything, anything at all, for her to be happy and that probably includes being in love the way adult women are in love.

But this- this phase I am not ready for. I don’t want it yet. I want her to still hold MY hand under that umbrella when it rains. I want to still be her travel partner, up the Inside Passage and through the Costa Rican canopy and under the Caribbean Sea. And yet, what I want really doesn’t matter now, does it?

(postscript: I may have to offer a prize to the first person who notices and identifies the detail of that stellar photo I took without benefit of autofocus. I was setting up the little water fountain in Florida… )

17 responses to “A leap of faith

  1. I so know what you are saying here. My firstborn, who turns 31 today, didn’t date in high school and not much in college either. Friends but no romances. Then *he* came along and everything changed for her. They have been married 2 years now. She’s a real grownup — how can that possibly be?!

  2. I won’t tell you to stop worrying, because no mother ever does. And I won’t tell you to let her go, because no mother ever does.

    But know that you’ve done well, and enjoy the sweetness.

  3. I love reading your thoughts, Vicki.

  4. Aw, I know, honey. 21 years go by quickly, don’t they?

    You are supposed to feel a little sad, I think.

    But it means you have done what you were supposed to do: raise a child who can now make a life of her own, who is able to form a healthy, loving relationship, and who will, one day, successfully parent the next generation.

    We are captive on the carousel of time, etc.


  5. I like your description of their home and their affections. It sounds like the kind of thing that would make your сердце soar. Is it a влюбленность that will last? Yes, for as long as it does. I’m happy for them and for Grey that they have each other. It sounds cozy and lovely.

  6. I have a slew of children, but only three that are biologically mine. The oldest will turn 31 at the end of Oct. He is married, has children, a career, is a veteran, he lives three thosand miles away, and he has a life…and I am still trying to figure out what I’m going to be/do when I grow up……
    His reality is sooooo disconcerting! I suppose because it isn’t my reality. I have not come to terms with the fact that my entire future isn’t in front of me….and somehow having adult children forces that fact….
    So I’ll just stay in denial a bit longer, thank-you very much!
    My daughter-in-law calls me “Mom” and I cringe everytime….and she is a lovely woman….but part of my brain can’t deal with the fact that he even graduated from “Barbies”….(there was a time when several of them were all of dating age and had all sorts of ‘relationships’ so I took to referring to all of them as ‘Barbie’, it was just easier….in short order they stopped giving out the home phone number…..)
    Anyway, the transition is a difficult one…..and maybe forever it will cause a bit of a twinge…but the swell of pride in your chest will push back the angst and wishful thinking, sometimes before you even identify that little twinge…..
    The other nice thing is that she will always and forever be your daughter…so that gives you certain rights…a bit early right now to assert them, maybe, but they’re there…
    “You are the daughter, I am the mother, we’re going for a walk…period….my perogative….” If you don’t abuse it, it works….
    Grey is a charmer….a Don Juan in cat’s clothes….he’s playing hard to get…makes the conquest sweeter….and he’s very clearly the boss…..what would life be like without a male in it to train????????…and since training is dynamic and never quite complete……
    Gotta go stare into the fish pond for a bit……

  7. by the by….sorry about the long posts…your writing seems to trigger all sorts of thoughts…
    I’ll try to keep them shorter….

  8. Yes, well, tomorrow the grandparents and we are going up to see Ashley and Dan’s new place. My husband and I had already seen plenty of it a couple of weeks ago when we helped them move in. I am feeling the same way as you–bereft, and disbelieving, like when she talks now about home, and it’s not here.

  9. You write beautifully about your emotions, Vicki! I love the comments here, too. Even your readers are above average! If only your football team were.

  10. I am still waiting for my 35 year old to find her man. I expect to feel exactly as you do about it. Good luck with Mischa and learning Russian!!

  11. I have been praying since my children were born that I would be a good mother in law someday. I bet you will be one, too.

  12. What a tug on the heartstrings this post was for me. Look what a great mom you are. You’ve raised a productive, loving human being. What greater accomplishment is there?

    We are at an odd stage here, with the high school senior. His first real girlfriend broke his heart over a year ago and he hasn’t been the same since. He has lots of girl friends, though. He has begun talking via facebook with the old girlfriend and the irritation rises in me as I think about that. She broke my baby’s heart, damn her.
    Anyway, I’m waiting to see what this school year brings. Hugs to you.

  13. Ours is not to wonder why,
    children, both XX and XY,
    grow up and need to fly…

    As the token male here (so far) and Dad of grown daughters, let me just say that I feel your … it’s not really pain is it? Hmmm, … bittersweet acceptance that most of your work on this project is complete, coupled with the obvious fact that the project has turned out to be what you hoped it would be?

    I don’t know if that’s it exactly, but I feel something similar lately.

  14. This is beautifully written.

    The funny this is, in my current state, both young love and a life when children are out on their own seem really attractive me right now. There is a positive side to having children all grown up, too, though I know I will feel exactly the same as you when I get there.

  15. I have no clue what the photo is, and it bugs me to not know. I’m not dealing with ambiguity all that well right now.

    Maybe it’s because I have a child that threatens to never leave… or a situation that will require actually booting him out…. this other-life-ness of theirs doesn’t seem real. And yet, since he was born, he’s had a whole different reality that makes no sense to me. A world I get to stand on the outside and admire only.

    Because I’ve had such a stressful relationship with my MIL, I’ve been coaching IZ since BW’s birth to not let me be one of those women. Every day I tell myself, “It’s his life, his choice, his decision.” Like it’s going to help, but I hear self-talk can’t HURT. 😀

    All this to say; I have NO idea.

  16. When there’s nothing you can do, there is nothing you can do.

    (Old wise Horsetail saying.)

    The object in the picture is 1/4 of a hockey puck. You know where to send the prize.

  17. I can’t imagine. But then my kids are so young.

    Whatever it is, your photo is beautiful!

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