Wednesday, 23 January 2013

"What will you do now?"

"What will you do now with the gift of your left life?"

Such a lovely evocative line from a Carol Ann Duffy poem.  She has such a spare way with words and chooses and places them so beautifully.

And reading this made me think about my own left life, the children having grown and flown the nest, busy with their own lives, and my mother having recently died.  This has been a time of great change for me and a chance to reflect, reassess where I am, where I want to be, what I will do now.  What really matters.

I have loved being a mother.  For me, it has been the best thing in my life and, now that I find myself only a small part of my children's lives, it is hard to find something meaningful to fill the huge space they have left behind in mine.  I could spend hours listing the things I miss about having my sons living at home with me.  Not that I would want them at home all the time now that they are young adults - they need to have their own lives and I need to have mine.  Nor has it always been easy; far from it! Yet somehow the only time I really feel whole again, and at peace, is when they are here with me, chatting and laughing in the kitchen while I cook at meal for us all, bake a cake I know they like, feel the warmth of that primeval relationship we only ever have with the people to whom we have given birth.

25 comments:

  1. Oh Marianne, I know what you mean!
    My 3 are just starting that phase, and I don't like it one little bit. But, as you say, it would be inappropriate for these young adults to be at home all the time.
    Carol Ann Duffy did have an extraordinary way with words, but at a terrible price.
    Would love an update on what you decide to do with this left life.

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  2. What a lovely comment, Mimi. I think motherhood is so all-consuming that nothing else can quite fill the space. I found that as long as I had at least one child living at home, my home was still the nest. Having a new relationship and moving to a different part of the country have also had an impact, I think. People tell me that the young turn to you more when they start to have families of their own, should they ever be able to afford them!

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  3. Hello Marianne, thankyou for joining us over at Hillside, I thought I would come over and meet you properly.
    Your blog is so beautifully written, I enjoyed reading about your family, especially, as I am eagerly waiting for my grown up son to visit this weekend.
    I look forward to following and reading more.

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  4. Hello Kath. I just knew you would be a lovely person! Thank you for the visit and have a wonderful weekend with your beautiful son. My resolve is to make the most of what I can share with my sons and try not to think too much about how things used to be. Sometimes its easier than other - I think being grounded with the severe weather and various viruses doesn't actually help.

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  5. I feel exactly the way you describe too. I have also had an active part in my granddaughters lives but I feel they are slightly pulling away from us too, as they become more independent.
    I suppose it is all normal but doesn't make it any easier to bear.
    Maggie x

    Nuts in May

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  6. No, it doesn't Maggie. Of course, you give them wings and love to watch them fly, but giving them roots was the really good bit. I understand now how my mother must have felt as we all pulled away, as pull away you must, to become who you really are and not what others want you to be x

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  7. What shall I do?
    I wish I knew.
    Too precious to waste,
    it's true —
    the minutes of our hours,
    the hours of our days,
    the days of our lives.

    Our children are perhaps in a different situation from yours. We all live in the same city, within blocks of each other. Our son, who will be 41 in a few days, is married with two children — we frequently see and look after our grandchildren, in their house or ours apartment. Our daughter, still single at 39, has two dogs, whom I sometimes feed and water. We're close enough to be easily helpful, but not intrude. Variations on a "primeval relationship" (such a marvellous image — powerful words!).

    Thanks for coming to visit, Marianne!

    Blessings and Bear hugs.

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  8. My pleasure! I do know of families like yours but we are a fractured family and all live many miles away from each other. The closeness is hard to keep at the moment, possibly because the 20s are the age when young people are trying to establish their own identity? I hope that when grandchildren arrive it will return. In the meantime, I try and let them go, but to know that I am here for them.

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  9. Dear Marianne, love the new look here.;)
    Oh, I tink I can understand what you mean, even if I am not - nor will ever be - a mother. Sadly, this was just not in the cards for me.
    Somehow having kids is the meaning with life. Enjoy the connection you feel with your children, in the end it is all that matters.;)
    Have a great weekend,
    xoxo

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  10. Such a beautiful, heartfelt post. Mine are still young but I can feel the pace quickening and before I know it they'll be branching out and beginning their own lives too.

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  11. You too, Zuzana!
    Robin, it goes in a heartbeat although at the time it feels endless. Enjoy your little ones.

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  12. Thank you for visiting my blog! I'm so glad you did, because now I can visit you. You write so beautifully. I am not looking forward to the day the kids are gone, but I'm so old already that we're taking bets on whether they'll be in college before I hit the nursing home. Three of our cats hate our dogs, too. The one cat thinks he's a dog, and the dogs are all terrified of him because it's not NORMAL for a cat to curl up with a dog!
    I love your pictures.

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  13. I'm looking forward to reading more Janet - lots of common ground there! My last dog adored cats and used to curl up with them, lick them all over and babysit the kittens. I miss her so much! Hearbreakingly she disappeared one morning and despite an intensive search was never seen again - very sad. We are slowly making progress now with this young dog and one of the cats is facing her down - and she is learning not to chase them (but only if we are looking)!

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  14. That's a lovely touching post, Marianne. I agree with you all the way. Though almost as close bonds can occur under other circumstances as well.

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  15. I came for a visit via Fennie’s blog. I enjoyed reading your post. Our two daughters are away as well and we do not see them as much as we wish. Both live in Tennessee, one in Memphis which is 7 hours away and the other in Nashville, 5 hours away. But I think that now they are older they call us more often. I think what changed my life the most was when my mother passed away. We would talk to each other, in French, every Sunday, and I would fly to Paris to visit her, at least twice a year – for decades. We would talk about French politics, books, so many subject. Now I never speak French. But what has made a difference is my blog, which I started writing when I retired. I made new friends, even visited some, and it has been so much fun.

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  16. Fennie, thank you for that. I'm sure a lot of people feel the same way.

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  17. Nice to meet you Vagabonde. I love it when people drop in and will pop by and see you too. Losing your Mum is very tough, especially when it comes with dealing with an empty nest at the same time. Challenging times.

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  18. Thank you for visiting my blog. Our two sons have grown up and left the nest, but being their mother is one of the greatest things I have ever experienced. I can't imagine life without them.

    One is married with kids and lives far away. He is in the Air Force. The baby is single and lives two hours away. He is a firefighter and a para medic. I feel so blessed to have raised two fine young men that are kind, civic minded and independent. They are a phone call away.

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  19. Hello Pam. Yes there is a lot of satisfaction in raising your children. One of life's great joys.

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  20. Oh this is lovely writing! So pleased to have discovered your blog x

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  21. Oh, that is such a lovely comment! Sometimes the words come, mostly they don't but there is definitely a connection here with how deeply I am feeling something. Most of the time I don't seem to have much to say... Thank you for visiting and I shall look forward to reading more from you, All at Sea.

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  22. I'm so pleased to have found your blog. I can appreciate your sentiments in this post. I recently lost my mother and my children have left the nest quite a few years ago. There is so much to do with the rest of our livies....I miss my family, but I also enjoy the freedom I now have. Thanks for the comment on my latest post.

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    1. Hello Meggie, good to see you here. Yes, it is a strange time of life, so much has changed but there is still so much to enjoy.

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  23. Oh my goodness Marianne - how this resonated with me! My mum died on the day I should have gone back to work after my maternity leave with First-Born - who is now almost 23 and is happily getting on with her own life in Nottingham. Last-Born is almost 20 and went off to Debt uni in September full of excitment, anxiety and joy. I feel bereft, adrift and unsure of my role in life.....I know I'll find myself again soon, but that feeling of wholeness when they are home again and I am cooking for them, laughing with them and sharing lives again is one I yearn for from time to time - sadddo menopausal old bag that I am!!!

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    1. That made me laugh - well, we have to laugh, don't we. I miss them so. It is the hardest thing.

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