Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wanting More

My mother is heading home right now, after her three week vacation with us. The heat wave continues. I'm feeling melancholy. I wonder, do other people know how blessed they are to have the luxury of taking their parents for granted? Do they? I feel like going up to each and every person who has family within driving distance, shaking them firmly by the shoulders and asking them this question. Do you know how lucky you are?

Our time with my Mom has been so precious. But, that's precisely the point. I wish it didn't have to be precious. I wish it could be commonplace. These years are slipping by, these sweet, sweet years, and she isn't here to share them every day. She is here so much, and we visit her as much as we are able with two young children and air travel being what it is nowadays; we talk on the phone almost daily. And, we love her, and she loves us. But, that's not what I'm talking about.

What about all the holidays and the birthdays? All the dance recitals, all the ballgames, the Sunday dinners, the sick days and scraped knees and sleepovers for no reason? This is my mother's heritage, the inheritance of a life spent lavishing love on her only child, the deserved blessing of an adoring grandmother to two beautiful children. I long to be able to drive over to her house, unannounced, and sit and talk for hours, or have her ring me up to go Christmas shopping or to take the kids to the park for an hour. I want the common, mundane, everday blessing of her.

Oh, to take it all for granted--what sweet bliss. Better, to have the luxury of taking it for granted and yet not taking it for granted. I suppose that's what the last three weeks have been. And, what a gift to have a mother who my whole family cherishes so, to have a mother who stirs up such longings for physical closeness in her grown-up daughter's heart. This is a blessing in itself and a great one. Then, am I ungrateful, at the end of this precious time, to shed tears and want more?

* The Bookworm's Library has been updated: Howards End by E. M. Forster, Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton


  1. As I get closer to marriage and our huge trip up to New England where we'll live, many, many miles from my mom and dad's home, I am experiencing similar pangs in my heart. Praying for you-- I understand how that feels. Mothers are such a blessing.


  2. wonderful post... you are so right. Both of my parents died within a year. I was really close to my dad... and it has been two years but I still miss him so much.

    thanks again for the encouragement.


  3. I understand your every word, Bethany. So often I dream about what it would be like to have interaction with my family be commonplace, not have the minutes counted the way they are now! Hugs as you get used to your mom's absence again.

  4. Totally understand, although my parents are within driving distance, I still wish they were closer!!

    Nurse Bee

  5. Great post, great point. Thank you for the reminder. My husband and I have made big sacrifices to live near my mom, and too often I take it for granted what a blessing it is. (As I type this my kids are playing at her house.) Thank you for another lovely post!

  6. I totally hear you. I live in Denmark (almost seven years now) and all my family lives in California. I see them maybe once a year. :-(

  7. My heart is with you on this one. My mum lives in Scotland while I live in Florida, so it is International flights for us to see each other. It would have been wonderful to have her here within dropping in distance this last few weeks. Even my mother-in-law lives over at a distance, it is over 4 hours to drive to her home on the other side of the State, which means neither my husband nor I have family close by. Extended family has always been a way of live for me, back in Scotland, so it can be difficult not having anyone other than my wonderful husband around. We have been blessed with a wonderful church family though, and I am very thankful for all the love and support they give us, especially during those times when our families cannot be with us.

    It won't feel so bad in a few days, and then you can start looking forward to your next reunion.

    God bless


  8. Thanks for this reminder, Bethany. My husband sacrificed a better job to live near my family. We visit them whenever we can. We're blessed to be so close (as are we blessed to be far from hubby's family...another story entirely...).

  9. Ah, it makes me want to cry...

    Ironically, I just got off of the phone, from talking with my mother (on her lunch break from her job)...she is in GA, and I am in OK. For 12 yrs of my married life we were in NC, a 6ish hr drive. Long enough that we saw them about 3-4 times a year. :-( Now, its one time a year. Between getting time off from work, and flying out here, etc, etc...well, its hard.

    And I felt *that* feeling every time that they would get in their car to go home, or we would load up ours to leave their house...that feeling of losing a big chunk of yourself...

    I wish that we could convince them to move here, as we are the only one of the siblings in any way able to care for them as they age. But the housing market being what it is in Atlanta...well, it will take some time, even if they were ready to leave right now (which they aren't). I'd love to have them settled around the corner, or across the road--so that my children could see them often (something I never got in my childhood, and want desperately for my dc--family close by...).

    God bless you--you'll be alright, but it never is easy, that first little bit of time after parting...

  10. I found your blog on Conversion Diary. You had left a comment about Story of a Soul, which I noticed right after posting about St. Thérèse's writing really impacting my life right now (her book is beside me, and on the cover is that same picture you have in your blog :). I saw also that you are from the Seattle area. My husband and I just moved to Ballard after getting married in early June. We are not Catholic, but we've been searching and are hoping to enter into RCIA this coming fall. It's been hard finding connections, and mentors for that matter. Anyway, I just felt like I should comment on your blog. I felt connected to you through St. Thérèse. :)


  11. I am very blessed, for 3 years ago we built a home attached to my Mother's house. Now hers is considered to be a Mother-In-Law apartment.
    So we can walk through a door anytime we want. I enjoy it so.

  12. You have written what my heart has felt so many times. Unfortunately for me, it seems that the more time passes, the older my DD gets and the older my parents get--the feelings get stronger. My husband, daughter and I live about 700 miles from my parents, as well as all of my other relatives. My husband and I have intentions to move to be closer to my family and have since before our marriage began three years ago. Since that time my mother has fought breast cancer and these circumstances have made me realize that I only hope and pray that by the time we are able to move closer, my parents will stil be in good health to enjoy their grandchildren. My heart is with yours. +JMJ+

  13. I totally "get" what you are saying... totally. My parents live fairly far away, and so were never available for those impulsive visits or afternoons of babysitting like so many of my friends parents were. And it made me sad too... ((hugs))

  14. It's much easier to "leave and cleave" when you don't necessarily care much for those you are leaving.

    I'm thankful that my mom and dad live a mile and a half away. However, my wonderful, sainted MIL lives in California now, while we reside in Wisconsin. I don't know who misses her more - my dear husband, or myself.

    I think wanting more is a natural way of dealing with "goodbye", Bethany. Don't feel selfish - you ARE thankful for the time you DO get! It's just human nature to want to be near those that we love dearly. Have you considered something like Skype?

  15. How many ways can you make me cry (but good tears) with the beauty of your words and the beauty of your heart? So many posts, so many emotions, but this one touches me so deeply. I love you all and miss you all so much. I share the same sentiments. And I realize how truly blessed I am.

  16. Your post made me realize how blessed I am to be near both my mother and my grandmother as I transition into adult life. Both are only a short (20 minute) drive away from me at school, but I think that sometimes I take this blessing for granted


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