just a mom

I have gotten GREAT feedback from my histrionic post about Sarah leaving home. Some of it made me giggle. Some of it made me feel soooo much better. All of it was helpful. I am still scratching my head about the recurring theme in feedback that I am afraid of New York. I know I am a deliberately vague writer, but I truly never meant to imply fear of a city. I spent my high school years treating Voodoo Village as my personal playground. It never occurred to me that I was supposed to be afraid of a neighborhood.

I know that in Memphis, justice is weighted by your net worth and personal connections, but I am not afraid of Memphis. I love that city. I know that Chicago is quietly run by crime syndicates, but I am not afraid of Chicago. I love that city. I understand the exhaustingly complicated social rules of Atlanta, but I am not afraid of Atlanta. I’m sorry, I don’t love Atlanta, but I don’t fear it either. I have preconceived assumptions about New York and they are probably wrong, but they are based on the idea that it is a place where creative people gather with shared dreams of being artists, writers, actors and musicians. I will accept that I have romanticized New York, but I am recalcitrant to accept that I am afraid of it.

I understand that much of social media has evolved into categories. I know people who do or don’t follow me on various sites because of my liberal slant. There is a spike in readership of anything I tag with Autism. Ultimately, even labeling me a middle aged hippie is overshadowed by the fact that I am a mom. Everything in my life is filtered through my mom lenses.

I don’t fear New York. I fear my daughter getting sick and my inability to scoop her up and take her to the doctor. I worry about my child getting a home cooked meal after weeks of surviving on ramen and Dr. Pepper. I am anxious about her moving somewhere without a support system. I don’t have an off switch that changes the way I feel about my children just because they reach a certain age. Just to make things even harder to understand, at the same time that I am filled with anxiety and sprinkled with sadness, I am also excited and proud. You know, just like a mom.

One thought on “just a mom

  1. I am not a parent. Likely will never be one, so I don’t know what advice I can give that will help. I know it was a comfort to me as a nest-leaving kid to know that my folks seemed as excited about the possibilities for me as I was.

    I only went to Memphis, which seemed a far off and distant land from Anderson County, but I knew my folks were happy to see me stretch my wings. I knew my mom missed me (and my grandmom, too), but they were a phone call away (email didn’t exist yet…much less Skype or Facebook or Twitter or texting or…).

    When my Mom died a few years ago, I found that she had saved the few cards and letters I would send her while I was away. My inability to remember to buy stamps on a regular basis did not stop her from sending me cards and letters. (Yes, I still have most of them.) It was good to know the option of communication was available and good to hear encouraging words– especially that first year. I imagine that will be even easier today if you can make sure she won’t block you on Facebook. 🙂

    Will your daughter try to survive on ramen and Dr. Pepper? Yes, despite whatever you do. She’ll always have less money than she needs. She’ll likely spend a miserable weekend with a bad cold and realize just how much she misses being sick at home, no matter how uncool you were to fret over her. Despite all this, she’ll make it through (regardless of the city she finds herself in) because she knows you believe in her ability to do it.

    So, that’s my advice. Believe in her.

    Oh, and stock up on some Hallmark cards to send at random times just to say “Hi.” They also make great delivery units for a random $20 bill.

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