When my girls were little, I would occasionally catch one of them gazing, staring off into the distance, lost in a daydream. I’d nudge her out of her little daze with a “you look like you’re a thousand miles away,” as she’d come back to reality, smiling sheepishly. We’d laugh and she would tell me, “Don’t worry, mommy. I could never be a thousand miles away from you.” I’d ruffle her little head and she’d go off on her merry way.
It’s been a few months now that I’m no longer able to nudge my daughters out of their little thousand-mile-away daydreams, because both are now grown and gone. And now both really are a thousand miles away. My older daughter has purchased a house in another state, 1300 miles away. My youngest daughter is in her first year of college in another state, 900 miles away. For the first time in our lives, both daughters are living away from me. And not just a block away or a city away, but a thousand miles away.
Friends and family can’t comprehend my feelings about my girls leaving home. They all seem to think they know what I am going through. “How could you let this happen? You’ll be so sad!” my mother suggests. “Pobrecita, mijita, it’s going to kill you,” my dad consoles. “What did you do to them to make them want to abandon you?” my snarky friend inquires. The thing is, I’m okay. Really. I wish people would stop asking me if I’m okay, and asking my daughters if they miss their mom, because yes, we all miss each other, but yes, we are okay.
That’s life. At least it should be. If my mom could have her way, I’d still be living with her right now–even though I’ve been married over twenty years and have two grown daughters. I’ll always be her baby, she says. I understand that, but I think a mother’s job is to prepare her children for life and independence away from home. And I have to say, I’m proud that I was able to do just that.
I am so proud that my children are moving away and living their lives. It’s what I want for both of them. It’s what I raised them to do. I want them each to explore the world, find their strengths, live their passions. I want them to learn from mistakes and strive to be the best they can be. I want them to go out and DO. Go out and BE.
Of course I miss them, sometimes terribly, but it’s not my place to make them stay. It’s my duty to let them go. This is exactly why I quit my outside job to stay at home with them. This is the culmination of everything I did to raise them. They are supposed to want to leave. That is what I stayed home for. I want nothing but the best for both my girls and if they believe moving away will launch them towards their goals, I would be the worst mother in the world to try to stop them.
A thousand miles is not that far. A twenty hour drive. A two hour plane ride. And it’s even closer by phone or video call. But a thousand miles will take my daughters on amazing journeys and exciting adventures they can’t get at home. I’m excited for them and happy for them. And I can’t wait to experience it all vicariously from a thousand miles away.