I keep having this conversation with my daughter. She says, “I don’t really miss you guys.” I say, “We don’t really miss you either.” Neither of us takes offense, and hey, could it be that we don’t really each other because we’re talking on the phone, texting, facebook instant messaging or emailing most days?
Yet before she left, i was sure I was in for several tractor-trailer’s worth of grief. In the months before we went to Minnesota, I found myself beside myself, and often. When I talked with friends about Natalie leaving, it seemed like a black hole looming on the horizon. Driving around the Twin Cities, whenever she wasn’t in the van with me, I did a lot of crying, which made what little sense of direction I had there evaporate (plus with twin cities, you have twice as much chance of getting lost — hey, most of the time, I couldn’t tell if I were in St. Paul or Minneapolis!).
Turns out anticipatory grief can do a lot of good when it comes to burning through how a loss or changes feels. This is contrary to what I thought, especially since I tend to bundle worrying, which may itself be somewhat useless at times, in with anticipatory grief. It also turns out that love continually knocks my socks off — we never know how we’re going to feel, and often not why, when or for how long either. Meanwhile, I do worry about my daughter at times (usually at 8 a.m. on weekends when I know she’s still soundly asleep from having only gone to bed a few hours before), but I’m also wildly excited about the new life she’s immersed in. Plus, I have counted out the days until she comes home.
Pictures: Natalie, and Natalie and me in earlier days.