Second person singular

You knew it would come to this, one day the kids leave the nest. You are left with yourself and your things, the memory of who you were as a couple and who you will be now that they’re gone. And it is hard to think about, hard to believe. When you drive to the dump how quick and easy it is to leave those things behind. The kid’s vanity you bought at IKEA, not worth saving. The image of her, your oldest daughter, late nights in despair cutting herself there. Hard to swallow that. Hard to accept. Working through the edges of her pain in her diary. Like a map to the dark center of her. And the old pictures you have of her on the tricycle, you’re reminded of that by the squeaking of a windmill wobbling in the wind. How you should have put some grease on that trike but never did. You said it’s one way I can keep track of her by the sound of that squeaking. And it is so hard to let them go. You dropped her off at the airport and she came back to the passenger side window, one goodbye wasn’t enough. You reached your hand through the open window to hers and gripped it, and in that clasp you could say more of what you really wanted to say. Maybe you can save that scene and see how it feels to replay it in your mind. Or view it as a temporary thing like a sand castle, and resign yourself to the fact you can make more.



Categories: parenting, writing

Tags: ,

28 replies

  1. Powerful words this Tuesday morning.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Phew. Beautifully written, Bill, but I wanted to cry, ‘Not yet, not yet!’. I don’t even want to think about it.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Very wistful. For some reason, this reminded me of tsukumogami, a form of Japanese yokai where inanimate objects come to life after 100 years. I’m not sure that Ikea vanity will last that long…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wist it is! Wist is the worst. Thanks for sharing that cool association. To hell with the IKEA vanity. Be well woman! Thanks for reading.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I clicked through and read goldfish’ piece On Children. So I got caught in a vice between your fine post on parental feelings when a child leaves home and her response to the societal push to procreate. Head now bursting with wist!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ah okay then! The Scylla and Charybdis perhaps then. Well glad to have you for brekkie I suppose! Be well David, enjoy the day.

        Like

  4. I read this almost immediately after you published it this morning. My half-sleep translated the loss as something more permanent. So glad it was just my sleepy brain interpreting that. I hadn’t really thought of those things for many years. It took me some time to understand that my children are like planets that elliptically revolve around my life.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well thanks for reading mister and glad to be with you at such an intimate moment, so to speak ha ha ha. Yes the satellite metaphor certainly holds true, thanks for that.

      Like

  5. A deft definition of heartfeltm or maybe Goldfish there had the word, wistful.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is very powerful and especially poignant at this time of year when so many nests are being built. Maybe that’s why the image of the sand castle strikes me. The edifice itself may be transient but what lasts is the fact that you made something together and for each other.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Yes, accept what’s “now” and accept that what preceded is “gone” … but I would opt for a word other than “resign” … I sense the ever-changing-ness as mysterious blessing (ultimately – doesn’t always look such in the moment!). I am fascinated with my adult daughter (almost 45 now) – perspectives on how things were back when she was a teen under my roof are enlightening when the unexpected conversations pop up. She and I both “grew up” through it all. I sense an “easy life” would really not be all that “good”. I think I’d replace “resign” with “trust” (or maybe Jeff’s “hope”).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Jazz, yes resign is a weak word in that way. Appreciate the positive reframing there. We’ve been under a cloud of moods and emotions as you can imagine. And it must be interesting as you describe to see your 45-year-old’s childhood and past through her lens. I hope I get the chance to do the same some day. And thank you for this thoughtful note, enjoy the day. Bill

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: