Recently, Donna made a trip to Trinidad to celebrate her father's 80th birthday, and I stayed home with the children. When we dropped her at the airport, it was heartbreaking to see the kids crumple into tears. It's the first time Donna's been away from the children for such a long time. Hunter was nearly inconsolable and Skye's description for her own heartache was, "My heart hurts because it misses Mommy."
Nothing else could have better described the feelings we were all having. That ache when someone you love is not near is tangible. The only thing that seemed to slow the tears and crying was getting them to look at the situation differently.
I turned to Hunter and said, "I want you to think about how you feel missing Mommy for nine days. Now, think about how Granny and Grandad and Uncle Terrence feel not having her around most of the year."
Hunter paused and through his tears said, "I never thought of it like that. That must really be hard."
It is really hard for both Donna and her parents. I can relate because my parents live far away too. I've learned that homesickness doesn't magically disappear when you have your own family. The obligations and perceived distractions raising young children provide doesn't make missing your family of origin go away. Instead, the ache grows deeper and the need to have our parents around or at least closer is more acute as our family grows. I want to have my parents witness the stories I share with them first-hand.
To pass the time until Donna comes home, Hunter has been enjoying
Facetime visits via his iPod and phone calls to Trinidad and Skye has been creating beautiful "love kords (aka cards)" for Mommy.
But, it's not the same as having her here. Likewise, I know that I would love nothing more than having the opportunity to call my parents and ask them over for dinner so they could enjoy time with the grandchildren and once they were tucked into their beds, time with me. That spontaneity some families enjoy is not something we have. Our visits are carefully planned and orchestrated and the itineraries while visiting become daunting as we try to fit time in with other relatives as well.
Although our technology helps to a degree in bridging the distance
geography creates, it's not nearly as adequate as sitting in the same
room, sharing coffee and stories drawn both from fond memories and
recent escapades. So, as I retrieve my lovely wife from the airport after her visit is complete, I know that along with her joy in seeing us she will be carrying the sorrow of leaving her family of origin behind.
I guess we'll all just have to wait for technology to allow us to transport ourselves from one location to the next, Star Trek-style. Until then, we will cherish face to face visits that much more.
- Stacy Graffam
- I'm a lesbian mom in an inter-racial relationship, living in Bergen County, NJ. My wife and I are raising two beautiful children, an eleven year-old son and a six year-old daughter. I'll be sharing our adventures in faith and parenting on a regular basis. My entries are also published in Gay Parent Magazine (www.gayparentmag.com).