The Goddess Speaks
Daughter’s departure mimics Mom
Dear Mom, It is only since my daughter turned 18 that I have fully come to understand you, understand me and understand us. I am certain that most children, while growing up, don't intentionally mean to hurt their parents. Most of the mistakes they make are simply due to immaturity and the absence of life experience.
Just after I turned 18, I abruptly left home. Not for college, but simply to exercise my independence. Like most kids at 18, I thought I was ready to be on my own once I turned that enchanted age.
I can remember the day I left, 30-something years ago, like yesterday. I stood there in our kitchen, suitcases in hand, ready to leave. I see you standing there, pleading with me not to go, giving me all the reasons why I shouldn't. Crying.
I can only now feel the enormity of your anguish. Why couldn't I have understood that you only had my best interests at heart? That I was too young to go? That the 18 years of my childhood passed so quickly and you just wanted a little more time to mother me?
But I did leave that day, and moved clear across the ocean, where I remain with my own family. Although I have made it a top priority to call often, visit yearly and remember you on each and every holiday, and in light of being happy where I am, I wish I hadn't left you so prematurely.
Over the years, you'd ask if I'd ever move back to California. I think it was only last year that you finally said to me, "Well, I guess that's your home now."
No matter how many years passed, you always thought I would come back one day, to live closer to the family.
It has been hard to be so far away, but I'm sure not as hard as it was for you. We mothers don't like having oceans between us and our children.
As you know, Mom, Kendra, my first-born daughter, has just left home, and moved across the ocean, in the same direction that I came from all those years ago.
She did not leave on bad terms. She just wanted to exercise the independence that you taught me, and I taught her. I gave her all the same reasons not to leave just yet, but she still decided to go.
It's been hard, Mom, but instead of feeling bad for myself, I've been thinking a lot about you lately, and reflecting on how you felt when I left that day.
But as I think about you, you are thinking of me.
Now, you are asking, when is Kendra coming home? You no longer feel my absence from you, but my daughter's absence from me. That's what being a mother is all about, I guess, and I am truly grateful for that.
Carol Ramie runs Island Investigative Services with her husband.
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