Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Guilty Goodbyes

Last night as I sat in the dining room working on my online class, I heard my mother and my sister-in-law whispering in the kitchen, “How are you doing with all of this?” my sister-in-law asked.
“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. 


Anonymous said...

I know what you're going through. My parents were SO unhappy, too. It was possibly worse because my husband is European, meaning the move was permanent, and the grandchild was a baby they would barely get to know.
For one thing, you can move home if necessary (like if grandkids become reality). A year, two, three in France will be be a fantastic experience, even if they don't stretch to 6 or 7. And at that point you can always take long vacations in France. In other words, your options are open.
As for songs, I think the one by Louane for the movie "La Famille Bélier" is suitable:
Mes chers parents je pars
Je vous aime mais je pars
Vous n'aurez plus d'enfants
Ce soir
Je ne m'enfuis pas je vole
Comprenez bien je vole
Sans fumée, sans alcool
Je vole, je vole.....

My dear parents, I'm leaving
I love you but I'm leaving
You won't have children any more
I'm not fleeing I'm flying
Understand well that I'm flying
Without smoke, without alcohol
I fly, I fly....

Philippe said...

Bonjour Paulita ! Vous n'êtes coupable de rien bien sûr car vous avez parfaitement réussi votre devoir de mère de famille quand on voit vos trois magnifiques enfants qui sont devenus 3 adultes pleins de santé et d' avenir.Comme " FranceTaste" l'a dit plus haut, vous pourrez vivre votre rêve de France à plein temps ou en faisant des aller-retour dans votre future maison de rêve ( à Uzès par exemple ... ) pour voir vos petits-enfants. Rien n' est définitif dans votre vie future française.Vous aurez alors et pour toujours un pied-à-terre, un morceau de France pour vous et toute votre famille. Vous pourrez y vivre à plein temps ou pour des vacances selon votre choix.Vous avez raison de profiter de vos prochaines années avec votre mari et réaliser le rêve de votre vie.// Hello Paulita! Of course you are guilty of nothing as you perfectly succeed your duty of mother when we see your 3 magnificent children being 3 grown-up full of health and future.As said above by "FranceTaste", you could live your Dreaming of France full time or going back and forth into your next dream house( Uzès may be...) to visit your grandchildren to come. Nothing is permanent about your next french life. You ' ll have then and for ever a pied-à-terre, a part of France for you and all your family.You could live full time or take vacations according to your choice. You are well right to enjoy next years with your husband and fullfill your life-long dream. As FranceTaste I recommend you the Louanne's song " Je vole " (from " La famille Bélier " movie ) which is very appropriate to your case: here is the link

http://www.barefootinhawaii said...

Gosh, this resonated with me. My parents have never been happy any of our moves. France was the most difficult. My Dad and brother have never once asked about our year in France. I've learned that some of us are wired for change and dream big! Some are content to stay put. I think neither is right or wrong. Yes, ultimately, we'd love support and encouragement but we don't always receive it. Surround yourself with those gypsy souls and throw off the guilt. It takes time and practice....heck, I still feel guilty sometimes. I'm so thrilled for you and this dream that you've made a reality. Xo, Gina

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