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heart | (dis)connection | head.

A piece of my heart is approximately 8 000 miles away.

I am combining yesterday’s prompt, “connection”, with today’s prompt, “heart | head.”

There is a disconnect between my heart and my head.

For the past week, as we made preparations for her departure, my head shoved my heart aside and took control.

“Do you have your passport and letter of consent to travel alone?  Remember to always keep it in your pouch during the travel portion.”

“Do you have the address and number for the Canadian Embassy?”

“Are your shoes comfortable?”

“Is your carry-on too heavy?  I don’t want your back hurting.”

“Don’t eat food that has been sitting out too long.”

“Always drink bottled water.”

“Go to the bathroom in the first half of your fifteen-hour flight.”

“Do you have your malaria pills? Did you set the alert on your phone to take them?”

“Wear sunscreen.  And a hat.  And sunglasses.  And long sleeves at night.  The day and night mosquitoes are different.”

Lordy, I could not shut up.

As she patiently nodded her head and politely said, “Yes, Mom” to all my inquiries and reminders,  my heart smothered my head with a pillow and told me to be quiet.

Her brothers and sisters prepared love notes for her to find in her suitcase (along with some favourite candies):

goodbye_letter

They bought her a teddy bear and made a heart filled with more love notes for the plane ride:

photo 1-4

My heart told me to savour every moment with her the day before she left.  My heart told me to stroke her hair.  My heart said to sit beside her and take her hand into mine.  My heart listened as she spoke of her excitement and her expectations.  My heart made me appreciate what I would soon be missing.

As I prepared to write a letter for her to read while she was gone, my heart and my head were at an impasse.  My heart wanted to list all the things I love about her and my head wanted to list all the potential things she may forget. I think I was able to balance both…

photo 2-5

My head and all its incessant nattering emerged once more on the way to the airport.  I talked about my own trips abroad.  I talked about types of suitcases.  I even talked about my toilet troubles on foreign soil.  I could see her eyes rolling even though she sat behind me in the car.  Then I asked all the questions again as I followed her out of the car and into the airport – “Do you have your passport?…”

It’s a strange feeling to know that we are entering a new phase of parenthood.  You find yourself going over everything you’ve ever said and ever done asking yourself: “Did we do a good job?” “Will she be okay without us?”  “How will I know if we’ve done enough?”

Then my heart silenced the head once more and said, “Take a look.”  And I did.

departure

She grew up.  This was the beginning.  I would see this image more and more in the months and years to come.  I knew she would catch the “travel bug” after this trip.  I remember that feeling: The world is your oyster.  I wanted to yell, “Stop!  You’re not ready!”  But my heart got caught in my throat and told me, “Let her go even if you’re not ready.”

At the airport, we spend some time hanging out, taking silly pictures and joking around, doing what we always do.  But now it’s time to head to the departure gate for the goodbyes.  My head gives her one final reminder, “Make good choices!”  This is our little inside joke, a quote from one of her favourite movies.  But my heart has the honours of saying the final goodbye.  No words – just holding.  Holding her tight. Holding her while my heart is saying a million things that I’ve tried to tell her – how much I love her, how her existence changed the course of my life, how grateful I am for our relationship, how there is this invisible thread of life and love that will keep us connected forever.

My head and heart both tell me, “Let go first.  She’ll be fine.  You’ll be fine.”

For the first time, I let go first.

I let go so she would know I believed she was ready.

I let go because it felt like it was time.

I let go so she could leave knowing that I was okay and happy for her.

I let go because I can’t hold on forever.

 ***

Trying to survive the February blues by getting my write on with writealm:

writealm_feb-button-150x75

 

{ 18 comments… add one }
  • Sharon February 14, 2014, 7:49 pm

    xox

    • rozanne February 17, 2014, 12:17 pm

      Thanks Sharon!

  • brooke February 15, 2014, 7:51 am

    I can see her years down the line doing the same thing thinking….My parents made a good choice.
    Been thinking about you……xoxox

    • auntie vi February 15, 2014, 9:39 am

      not fair for making me cry first thing in the morning and I am at work, at that. Reminds me of the couple of times Alex left for Kenya and you eloquently put into writing my exact, same sentiments.

      • rozanne February 17, 2014, 12:18 pm

        Thanks Auntie!

    • rozanne February 17, 2014, 12:18 pm

      I think she already feels that way from talking to her today. Thinking of you too…xo

  • gwynyth February 15, 2014, 5:39 pm

    Wow. Rozanne, I admire your ability to let go, even if you wish you didn’t have to, and her maturity and bravery to embark on this adventure!
    xoxo from one mama heart to another.

    • rozanne February 17, 2014, 12:23 pm

      Thanks Gwynyth…in the end, I think I knew she was ready for this and I had to support her so she would feel confident in herself. And the things she is experiencing there are amazing and are testing her resilience and strength – things that I couldn’t offer her here.

  • ulrike February 15, 2014, 6:49 pm

    i got goosebumps reading your post, rozanne! wow, that is a distance. you are brave and awesome for making this choice. she will surely appreciate it.

    • rozanne February 17, 2014, 12:32 pm

      Oh Ulrike. It’s hard not being able to hop in a car and pick her up! I don’t think I was as prepared as I thought I was when I agreed to this…my head was but my heart wasn’t!

  • Heather February 16, 2014, 1:33 pm

    way to let go. i’m proud of you.
    all of you.
    what an amazing experience.
    ox

    • rozanne February 17, 2014, 12:33 pm

      Thanks Heather…now it’s a matter of me hanging in there and not going crazy…

  • Jill February 17, 2014, 1:08 pm

    Love at its best!!!! I am sitting here in tears…you are an amazing family 🙂

    • rozanne February 17, 2014, 1:59 pm

      Thanks Jill!

  • amanda February 17, 2014, 1:10 pm

    this made me tear up. my oldest will be 13 in a few short months and i know a lot of these firsts are coming. i wonder if i’m strong enough to let go.

    • rozanne February 17, 2014, 2:12 pm

      Amanda, I worried about the same thing when she was that age so my husband and I made a concerted effort to not just let the years pass by and sneak up on us. We told ourselves that these teen years were just as important as the first few years of her life. We actually have been holding on tighter these last few years in different ways and slowly letting go.

      From the moment my oldest turned 12, we started slow – we would give her more and more chances to exert her independence: taking public transit on her own, biking outside of our neighbourhood, and going away to camp for a week. Both of us became a little bit stronger each time. There was always discussion about readiness and my own concerns. I didn’t want it to sneak up on me – I wanted this “letting go” to be as gradual as possible. The last 4 years were just that and I knew that this day would come. Then it did. She was ready and I wasn’t but I did the hardest thing I’ve done yet as a mother – put my absolute faith in her and our parenting.

      The one thing I made sure I did? Appreciate our meals together. I would look around the table and see my family complete and freeze this picture in my head. This is probably what I miss most now but so grateful that I paid attention to it.

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