Thursday, September 15, 2005

An Inevitable Pain

There is a pain that none of you know about yet. You might have guessed about it, but it is one of those things that you can't know about until you feel it. Like labour pains. Before you have labour pains, you wonder what they will be like; will you recognize them? Will they hurt too badly? Will you be able to stand it? What if you can't? Etc. As a result of those pains, there is another pain lurking in the future as unavoidable as labour pains. A pain other's can describe but you can't really know how it will feel . . . until you are there.

Erin moved out Sept 1. That is a good thing, really. I know it is. She is ready and it is time. She is living with her boyfriend and another roommate. I hope you all don't see that as scandalous. It is perhaps why I was reluctant to tell. She wasn't raised as a Mormon. She's a good kid. I have no problem with that aspect of it. Of course, I wish she didn't go right into that - that she lived on her own first or with roommates. You learn so much about yourself when you do that - things that you really need to learn before you live in a couple situation. But, for whatever reason, this is the way she needed to do it. I think she needed to be attached to someone in order to have the courage to leave.

My heart has been aching - a constant lump in my throat. And not because I am upset about her moving out - that really isn't it. I'm not upset about it. It is just because of what it signifies. Her childhood is over. My time to shape and mold her and meet her needs in a very direct way is over. Done. My time to fix things, or do it over, or better is finished. My little girl is gone. That is the pain. Some part of me never wanted her to grow up. I wanted my little girl forever. Of course that isn't logical, practical or even really desirable but that doesn't stop my heart from wanting it. It was illustrated to me this spring. I was at a ball game that Kaetlyn was umping. I turned around and saw a girl running towards me around the age of 8. The way that she was running, her outfit and her hair colour and cut - for a split second I thought it was Erin. Instantly, I knew that this could not be. And instantly my heart grieved because this was true and that time was lost to me forever. If you have ever read the play 'Our Town', it is that feeling when she goes back to her birthday and she sees how casually everyone is acting and she wants everyone to really pay attention and appreciate life, etc. I think of all those times I was preoccupied or distracted or just not making enough effort and I wish I could have all those moments again... That is the pain. Does it make sense? I have seen friends of mine go through this and talk about it and I thought I understood but none of that really prepared me for this pain. Just like my first labour pain and the urge to push. Its all connected.

The other night her cat, Tigger, jumped up on my bed while I was reading before falling asleep. This is very unusual but it dawned on me that her bed, where he would usually go, was gone. I clutched him and wept and remembered how little she was when she was only 8 and Tigger came to live with us and be her cat. Now he is here and she is not.

And I don't mean that things aren't good between us. They are. We are on good terms. But she doesn't live here anymore. *sigh*

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