Last week my mum went home to England after spending six weeks with us. It’s always a bittersweet departure. While she’s here, my life is disrupted, work doesn’t get done, my daily routine is all off, and I never seem to see much of my husband. By the time she leaves I’m ready to get my life back, but I’m never glad to see her go. I know it’s going to be at least six months before I see her again and I know that if she ever really needed me (or vice versa) we are 24 hours away from one another. I often worry that one day that will be too far. But I’ve chosen my life and she accepts it, and we both know that even though we only see one another twice a year, over the course of a year she actually spends more hours with me than with either of my brothers. Somehow the arrangement works out for us.
I live by the beach, (so naturally, I seldom actually go to the beach) and over the course of her visits we’ve developed a tradition of going to the beach on her last day here. It’s always a glorious day, even if the weather has been mediocre for the rest of her trip. We walk down to the beach, get an ice cream, put our feet in the ocean for a while, and then lay on the sand in the sun.
This time we dozed for a while and at one point I woke up and looked at my mum asleep beside me. I was overcome by just how much I loved her. It’s such a deep, binding love, different to the way I love my husband, or my friends. She is my mother. I am a part of her and because of that we will always be inseparable. It was an almost primal feeling.
And then of course, the other feeling struck me. I realized that no one will ever feel that way about me, and likewise I will never know what it feels like to love my own child.
It was a fleeting thought, not one to linger and bring me down, but I daresay it’s a thought I will have again, probably the next time I say goodbye to my mum.