A Sequel of Sunrises

A Sequel of Sunrises

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: A Tribute to Moms

A Sequel of Sunrises

We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.

E. M. Forster

When he moved out, he left everything behind. His drums, his bike, his bedroom set. The posters left hanging on the wall echoed a young boy, preparing to make his way in the world someday. And that he did. Burning the midnight oil studying for exams and writing term papers, he attained the goal he had set for himself. He joined the ranks of psychologists. He’s happy doing what he is doing. And I know he’s happy, but I still miss him.

When she left, she took everything with her but the sewing machine. “Let’s make this the sewing room,” she said. “And a study.” I agreed. Her books spill over from wall to wall. Children’s books. Textbooks. Masterpieces in English literature. Books with lesson plans for first and second grades. She’s a teacher now and on her own. And I know she’s happy, but I still miss her.

When I drive into “the big city” to have lunch with my son, I never get over that empty feeling that grabs me when I see him walking up the street toward me. Dressed in a shirt and tie, smiling through blue-tinted sunglasses, I realize that he has grown up. But I ask myself over and over again, When did all this happen? What is he doing in a big city like Los Angeles? When did he let go of my hand and run ahead?

“But do you have enough food in your refrigerator?” I ask him over a vegetarian pizza. “Are you getting enough rest?” Twenty inquiring questions. Twenty “I’m okay, Mom” responses. I take a bite of my pizza and swallow hard. I tell myself, Just take three steps backward. Let him enjoy his new world.

My daughter echoes a lot of the teaching techniques I thought came naturally to me. At an age when I am about to retire from teaching, I proudly pass the torch to my daughter. Having recently moved into her own apartment, I asked her, “Do you have enough food in your refrigerator? Do you get enough rest?” The voice inside me says, Let her enjoy her independence. You enjoyed yours.

Mornings are hardest for me. When I open my bedroom shades and look out onto the back driveway, I notice that both cars are gone. The spaces my son and daughter used to park in are empty. A million thoughts race through my mind as I make my way to the kitchen and my morning coffee. How can I keep the world from hurting my children now that they are “out there”? What if they need me in the middle of the night, and I’m not around to help them? Then the voice inside me makes me realize they are not little children anymore. But what does that voice know anyway? I ask myself. Is it a mother?

I wonder if my mother had these lost feelings when I left home. She helped me plan my wedding, made sure I had everything I needed to start a life away from home, and waved good-bye as I drove down the street. When she put her hand to her face, was she crying?

My mom will soon turn ninety-one. And she still worries about me. And I worry about her. I believe motherhood is a forever thing, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Being a mother has enriched my life because I have shared it with my children. And I hope I have enriched my mother’s life. I guess that’s what it’s all about. The circle of life.

Maybe my mom was crying on the day I drove down the street after my wedding. And maybe I cry after I leave the restaurant, having had lunch with my son. And maybe I cry after I visit my daughter’s classroom as a visiting teacher. But crying is allowed. And so is worrying about if they have enough food in their refrigerators and if they get enough rest. I’m concerned about their well-being, because they are my children, and I am their mother. And I wish them a good life.

Lola De Julio De Maci

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