The Importance of Family

After a very (unusually) busy summer, with our traveling out of state to visit and care for our grandchildren, and then having one grandson visit here with his aunt (my middlest, Toodles) , and then for a few days all three of our daughters being here together--the "three sisters' --first time in years--the importance of family relationships and missing them is starting to set in, again...

Our youngest daughter, here for a 30-day leave from the army (which she had to divide among 3 states because that is where her family and friends are), left in the beginning of August, for several days in New York and then back to Israel. This had been her first trip back here in four years, because of the commitments of school and then the army. We had seen her previously one-and-a-half years ago at her oldest brother's wedding in March, 2008.

Our middlest just graduated from college in Israel, and is back in the States for a year-no, not at 'home' (where is home, these days?), but in her older sister's home out of state. She will be employed by her sister's company, and in these economically depressed times you don't turn down a job offer! She is still here for a few more days at least...

After such a tumultuous visit parting is even more difficult. I had forgotten what a 'full-house' this had been, raising five children. The daily routine, after-school activities, laughter, tears (yes, of course there are tears sometimes), the kids' comings and goings, singing and harmonizing z'mirot on Shabbat--the words of the song rings true: ". . . you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone. . ."

The thing is, if we knew that we would be going to visit them in the near future, say, for Chanukah--either in the States or out--it would be a different story: it would still be a little sad, but with a forward-look to the future. However, it is not that way. In our situation, we don't even know where we will be living in two months, let alone making travel plans (financially impossible at this time).

I always knew that I was connected to my children. Being a mother was the most important thing to me; it was my purpose in life. It has been years already, since 1990, when my eldest started leaving home; you'd think I'd be used to it by now. But I'm not. There is a big empty hole in my heart, a cavernous void, which had been previously filled by laughing, growing, changing children.

This past Mother's Day I received a lovely card from a good friend of mine, which really moved me. I can't remember it verbatim, but the message went something like this:
Happy Mother's Day to my friend, a mother who raised her children with love and guidance. I am sure your children appreciate all you have done for them, for each one of them is living a purposeful, meaningful life.
Well, I think they are living meaningful lives; but the truth is, that I am the one who needs to learn a lesson from this; it is I, who need to adjust-my kids are doing fine (albeit in different areas of life), Baruch Hashem; but I am the one who perhaps, just a little bit, needs to let go, and to let them go, as well. . .

At least, one comforting thought is that Toodles (after she earns and saves a little $ after paying off her college loans) will be close enough for a possible visit back to us, maybe even for a chag...

But until then, the house is starting to empty out and the quiet is settling in again. . .

I can't say that I missed it.

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muse said…
Ahh, empty nest. I have one. But B"H, 4 out of five are here in Israel.
Lady-Light said…
muse: I hear you. Our family is so spread out (Israel, 3 different places in the States, Mexico),that wherever we'd we, we would always be missing somebody.
Independently wealthy is the answer: that way you can frequently visit everybody.

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