“It’s just so hard on all the kids,” I heard my mom’s response as she went on to describe how Grace sobbed on the day she left.
“Hey, stop talking about me!” I called, but the words had already done their damage. They gnawed inside me like so many worms.
I’ve known for while that my parents don’t want me to move to France. They make not so subtle comments as they ask questions about what we will do and what the kids will do. My Dad especially says things like, “guess we’ll raise your grandkids for you,” and “how are you going to replace all those things you got rid of when you move back?”
I fume inside. Not just because we don’t have any grandkids yet, but because my parents moved to Florida when Earl and I, with our one baby, moved back to the Midwest. My parents are great with my kids, but they have always lived far away and I have never tried to make them feel guilty about that. When the kids were participating in sports, I really wished my parents were around to cheer them on. They’ve never seen Grace perform in a play. I’m just on a rant now to assuage my own guilt.
I also know that every time we say goodbye to my parents, 81 and 80, they believe it could be the final time. Still, when we lived in Ohio, we were a 16-hour drive away, so saying goodbye is always precarious in Ohio or France. And, having lost a sister at age 18, I’m well aware that anyone could die before i get to see them again.
Should I put my dream on hold until my parents die? They could live well into their 90s, like my grandmother did, dying at 97. My mother has a sister who is 98!
Should I put off this second chapter of my life until our children are all married and settled into good jobs, homes with mortgages, and possibly kids of their own?
Waiting would only lead to more reasons not to go.
I’ve always been the daughter who went exploring— France at 22, Washington DC at 24, Florida at 25.
The words of the Moana song echo in my head: “I wish I could be the perfect daughter, but I come back to the water no matter how hard I try. Every turn I take, every trail I track, every path I make, every road leads back to that place I know where I cannot go, where I long to be.”
Even though my parents may worry or disapprove, I’m stepping toward that next adventure, my load is just a little heavier.