Happy Mother's Day, a day late...

We spent some wonderful time with family yesterday.  The Hamilton clan gathered at my parents house to celebrate the moms, and to do some chores for our folks.  It was a houseful-all the siblings were present except one.....my youngest brother has 10 kids and it is really hard to travel.....

There was lots of good food, funny stories from the past, and little ones running all over the place.  A great legacy for my mom and dad to enjoy.

One of my sisters lives in the town we grew up in, and her daughters and their families do as well.  So they were all present and accounted for yesterday. My other sister had her college student daughter with her-a precious visit shared with the rest of us.

While it was a lovely, lovely time, I have to admit to a certain aching sense of loss of my own.  My kids were not with me, neither was my adorable grandson...and I missed them.  This does not mean, that I hadn't gotten calls, and presents in the mail-I did, and I felt truly special and blessed. The silver ring my jeweler son made me is just stellar....I got to talk to little Mr. Cullen on the phone twice-I actually understood some of the words...

What I missed was their presence.  My favorite daughter and her family live in the DC suburbs-more than 900 miles away.  My favorite son just moved to California-I don't want to know how many miles....I just plain miss them.  I think I always will.

My daughter is a teacher, and when she started talking about a possible job in the Fairfax County School System, I had a funny oh-oh feeling in my gut.  My gut was right.  We moved her out there a month later-that was 10 years ago.  Her brother, has lived in a few places, but never so far away as California.  My son wants to be a college art professor, and so  when he started talking about the lab tech job (first step to becoming a professor) in San Jose, I had that same oh-oh feeling. Sure enough, a month later and he was in California.

I never imagined that my children would be so far away from us. While I am not the sort of woman who needs to have them live down the street, or in the same town, or even in the same state, it would be nice if they lived close enough so we could at least manage weekend visits once in a while, and the cost of gas or airfare to these places wasn't so hard on the pocketbook.  I want my grandson to know his Nana and Jdo,  we want to have plenty of time to shower him with love and chances to simply watch him grow and become his own little man.

I am not interested in running my children's lives, or raising their kids for them-they are well equipped on both counts.  What I want is to simply know them and be a part of their lives. They are two of my favorite people in the whole world-I love just spending time with them.  The distance makes it hard, but then it makes the time together incredibly precious.

As I was missing my kids yesterday, I starting thinking about what being a mom really means.  Here are some things that floated through my mind and did make a certain amount of sense....

* I poured my life into my kids-that's what a mom is supposed to do, even if it hurts like hell when they grow up and life takes them far away from home.  Home is where your heart is, and so I guess that in my heart, they will always be home with me.

*  Our kids are not here to fill us up and make us happy. It's not their job.  We are here for them.  To love them with everything we have and teach them things.  We will know we have done our jobs well, if they can go out into the big, hard world and make it.  Both of mine have done a grand job.  I could brag here, but I will refrain....

*  Space and distance do not alter love.  Love is always present.  True love is real and tangible, in spite of. It is meant to be treasured-savored.  Having my children far away has given me the gift of understanding this.

*  It's our job as moms to equip our kids to become the fullness of all they were ever meant to be.  This is not always easy, and it generally costs us something deep and heartfelt, but it's worth it.  Watching mine walk across the stage to receive educational degrees and awards reminds me that my husband and I did our jobs well.

* Mothers teach their children many things. We made a point to teach ours to be giving people, and to understand that it's important to invest in others-that we were put on this earth to make a difference.  They both ended up being teachers-they make a difference in the world.

*Although I may always feel a sense of grief and loss in having them so far away, I think I can be ok with it.  As a mother I know I have done my job well.  My children are all I could ever have hoped for them to become.  That's what being a mom is really all about it. Yes, having them around is nice, and yes, plastering my grandson with Nana hugs and kisses would be more than nice.  Beyond that though, there is something more profound.  I raised my kids and waved to them as they set off on the adventure of their own lives.  I did my job.  I can rest. 

Laura and Lee, I love you with all my momma's heart.  Couldn't be more proud of you if I tried... 

And here's the thing.  Being a mom is just a slice of life's pie.   The work is done, and now there's time for me.  My studio is calling out my name...there is a whole lot of art waiting to be made..



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