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©March 2003

Carol Jane Remsburg




A Sunday Surprise





I'm one of those people who needs uniformity; who needs the expected.  Yea, if something upsets the norm, well, then I end up all out of sorts.  Then it happened right out of the blue!  My sister showed up and snatched my kid for an overnight escape.  That hasn't happened since 1999 on our anniversary and even then it was a planned event.


Erin likes being home but she adores visiting with her Aunt Betsy.  However, her Aunt Betsy has been working long hours these past few years and hasn't had much time for any sleepovers.  School it out for Erin tomorrow and Betsy is off from work.  Betsy is more of a 'spur-of-the-moment' type gal who had a brainstorm.  She simply showed up and absconded with my daughter. 


The last time Erin was away for an overnight adventure, I wandered about the house for hours in a daze.  It was too quiet.  Talk about having history repeat itself.  It does.  Erin hasn't been gone an hour and I'm already listening for her.  What's she doing?  She's too quiet.  Then I remember she isn't here. 


Sometimes it's so easy for a mother to sigh in frustration over her kids because their demands on her attention seem non-stop.  Funny thing is when it does, a mother tends not to know what to do with herself.  The issues over concern can run the gamut from: "Where's my red scrunchie?!!" " to "Mom?  What's it like to have a baby?"  Somewhere between the tantrums and the learning come the snuggling and love that bonds child to mother.  Moreover, with daughter to mother it is an entire range of issues from the smallest to the largest. 


Moms with boys have it easy.  Boys love their moms and will jump through hoops of fire for them, but they save those hard and difficult, and sometimes painful questions, for their dads.  With mothers and daughters, it is more akin to warfare guerilla tactics.  There is that basic love yet the struggle for power is omnipresent.  What I can tell those women out there that want to wait until they are 35-40 to have their children—you had BETTER PRAY FOR A BOY.  If you have a girl at that late stage of the game as your first and she is a strong-headed child, you will NOT WIN at anything.  Why do you ask?


And if you didn't, I'll tell you anyway . . .


I was thirty when I had our daughter—AND I thought I was ready for anything.  I was older, more savvy, and perhaps wily enough to deal with everything a daughter could lay out.  I'd already been an 'auntie' and second mother to my sister's kids for nearly ten years at that time.  I thought I knew it all and whatever they could manage to dish my way.


I managed to forget one basic premise.  Young adults should have their children—like 22 or 25.  That's when you are still strong enough to maintain a constant, even belligerent vigil over your kids.  You are still young enough to ensure they know just who is boss in the house.  Once you hit thirty, you tend to tire a bit quicker.  When the kids get really active, suddenly you are 35.  When the child is ten, you are 40.  Puberty is coming and along with it all the hormones gone awry.  If you work a tough day job one required 10-12 hours, often you come home wanting only the solitude of bed.  Now that never works in favor of the child who is busy and full of questions and seems always ready for an argument.  You are supposed to be there and ready to bolster and educate and provide emotional support.


Sigh . . .


The constant buzz is this house has been suddenly muted for an afternoon, evening, and through the night.  There will be no dissention over what was offered up at dinner.  There will be no entreaties over what game to play or movie to watch.  There will be no arguing over just when bath time is.  And there will be no begging to stay up later then the usual bedtime.


I feel I've been cast adrift, my moorings unfettered.  I know I ought to enjoy the quiet gifted to me for Erin will be well attended and won't give a minute's trouble to my sister this eve.  Yet, the house seems too quiet and empty without her. 


I can go to sleep tonight whenever I want to.  I can read without interruption.  I can watch a movie without having to explain it or tell her to hush and quit tossing about.  I can take a long hot shower without someone banging at the door asking me to find something she's lost.  I can write a friend a letter and this item without 10 interruptions or demands.  Yet without her presence and her aggravations and even her mini-dramas, the house seems unbalanced somehow.  The out-of-kilter quiet seems oppressive.


The strangest part is knowing that SHE is enjoying herself and having fun, and that I too ought to be able to take the joy in the momentary solitude of her absence.  I cannot.  Ask me any day of the week and give me your address and I'd promise to deliver you my child into your care.  Okay, so I joke a lot.  And there are those times when if she were out of my sight for a few hours or overnight that it would be the best for both of us.  I'm not having one of those times right now—I miss her and she hasn't been gone more than two hours.


Motherhood is truly strange and while sometimes a Sunday surprise is nice, I'm still not acclimated to it yet—if ever.



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