March 9, 2010 at 3:02 pm 3 comments

Have you ever noticed a cycle in your emotions? I have.

I’m not sure what it depends on, but the main cycle I notice is missing my family, not my immediate family of course, but my parents, my sister, and my grandma. For a while I go chugging along, buoyed by a recent trip to Santa Cruz, or a recent visit from one of the key players, but then I sense the chugging starting to slow. And the ache begins.

I miss them, so I start to think about them, and then I dream up seriously torturous fantasies. I imagine Santa Cruz and Missoula merging into one town. One where my Dad swings by my house on the way to the farmers market, maybe taking a couple kiddos with him to pick out fruit. Or my mom comes over on Saturday for movie night, nestled in on the couch with her three grandchildren and a bowl of popcorn. Or I’ll imagine that it is no big deal for my sister to come whooshing through the house, grabbing a snack and running some ideas by us, before she whooshes off again with her busy life.

Basically I imagine the best possible scenario, one in which I get to stay in this beautiful safe town, comfy cozy in my sweet community, and still get to see my family.

I didn’t consciously choose to set up shop away from my home town. I was twenty something and roaming about when I met Nathan. Our love was immediate and strong and I had ZERO reservations about throwing my lot in with him. I still don’t. But a modern family like ours means that there are two other mothers to consider when I start my yearning. There are two other households, firmly rooted in this community, which means, practically speaking, that moving near my extended family is a no go. And, to be fair, modern family or not, I have become spoiled by this town we live in. We are blessed with awesome friends, a great house, and a river to swim in. The girls are completely safe to be kids, to ride their bikes around the block, to smile at strangers, to walk down the street to bake cookies with a neighbor, and I’m not sure all that is possible in Santa Cruz. It’s pretty gritty there, densely populated, and just a bit rougher all around. So even if we were a plain old nuclear family, I’m not sure I’d even want to move back.

My parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, ALL live in Santa Cruz, and won’t be moving to the wild cold woods of Montana anytime soon. So that angle is a dead end as well. Which brings us right back to the torturous part. There is no solution. And even though intellectually I know that feelings come and go, that we can simply honor them and watch them flood through, I just can’t seem to be able to do that with this feeling of missing. I am able to recognize that I am sad, but just can’t stop myself from casting about wildly and obsessively for that magical solution.

It’s like when Echo wants to take a walk on a rainy day, doesn’t want her feet to get cold, and doesn’t want to wear shoes. There simply is no answer for that. So we stand on the stoop holding each other while the rain falls. Eventually enough time passes that something shifts either within her, or with the weather, but we don’t stand there forever. I know that my missing feeling will fall to the passage of time eventually as well. I will stand on the stoop of my life, missing my family, and eventually something will shift. I’ll get excited. I’ll get sleepy. Some other emotion will step up to move me forward.

There is comfort in that. This too shall pass, so they say, but the thing is I don’t want too much to pass. I want my mom to see Xi in her dance class. I want my sister to counsel Bella through her first love affair. I want my dad to trim Echo’s toenails each time they get too long. I am afraid if the missing feeling keeps passing each time it cycles through, if it is absorbed again and again without my acting on it, my life will pass too. It will pass without these dear people.

So back to the tight spot. Back to missing. Back to casting about for a solution.

You never know.


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in response a new view

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Romy  |  March 9, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    I feel for you. How hard it must be to be separated from such a special set of people.

  • 2. Tammie  |  March 10, 2010 at 7:11 pm

    Hi, I started reading your blog and am loving it. This brings to mind feelings that I get. I live in Florida but have dreams of moving back up to Vermont and raising my kids in a place similar sounding to where you live. I wonder if everyday that I let go by with us not living there is damaging to them and lost time. We just have to keep telling ourselves that our time will come.

  • 3. Angela  |  March 13, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    oh my, this hits home big time. i have a constant missing feeling, too. my sisters and parents and us now go many, many months before we see each other. it used to be that we could count on going “home” for the holidays at least, but because of hard financial times this past year for everyone we didn’t even have that. so hard, to constantly feel that you are missing loved ones. i understand completely. the tough part is trying to explain to our little ones why we have to miss, why we can’t just go and see them whenever we want.

    in response to tammie, i live in south fl, too, and once lived in vermont (got married and had our first baby there). so definitely felt connected to your comment. we sometimes long for the peace and serene countryside that vermont exemplifies. yes, your time will come.


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