The Writing Mamas Daily Blog

Each day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.

If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.

And for that, you are a goddess.

Friday, May 25, 2007



Half-empty mugs cultivating different species of mold are strewn through every room of the house. There’s a trail of discarded outer and intimate wear from the entry hall to the bathroom. My shower turns icy before I’ve even lathered up.

She’s back!

Before my daughter left for college, I was a wreck for at least a year. I brooded about the countless ways in which I’d failed to prepare her for adulthood. I regretted never forcing her to attend sleep-away camp. I worried that she didn’t know how to write a research paper. I obsessed over the fact that her platinum highlights from a box came out orange right before her college interviews, and that her conversational ability with adults -- at least the adults who raised her -- seemed confined to monotones and eye-rolling.

“What kind of a home must this girl come from?” I imagined admissions officers scribbling in the margins as they tossed her application atop the reject pile.

The college of her dreams must have successfully gambled on a few orange-streaked grunters before, because she got in.

That’s when the separation anxiety began in earnest.

I dreamed of a last idyllic summer together, storing up mother-daughter bonding like summer squirrels stockpiling to stave off impending starvation. But it was her friends, not me, she couldn’t get enough of. She was out until dawn most nights, then a sleep-deprived bitch in the rare time she spent at home.

I marveled at nature’s way of making separation bearable by making a teenager unbearable.

Still, I was heartsick at the thought of her looming departure. I imagined myself sinking into the same aimless and deep depression that snared my mother when my brothers and I left home.

When my daughter actually went away, and my anxiety and grief intensified, I walked around in a surreal daze of hollow aching.

For about two weeks.

Then I started to enjoy lower utility bills and horizontal surfaces liberated from clutter. Out from under the tyranny of my daughter’s vegetarianism, we once again indulged in chicken and steak. I no longer spent long sleepless nights envisioning her dead in a ditch when the hall light still glowed after midnight, even though I knew she could be just as dead in a ditch on campus.

Out of sight really is out of mind.

And absence really does make the heart grow fonder. Homesickness has spawned a sweet and surprising wish to be in touch from the girl who couldn’t wait to get away.

Not so long ago, I vowed to keep the porch light burning always, a beacon to guide her safely home whether she was near or far. Now that she’s back, I sputter with irritation every time she leaves the lights on. She rolls her eyes in response.

Surveying the Petri dishes masquerading as coffee cups, the trail of socks marking the path back home, I sigh.

Reunion anxiety has begun in earnest.

By Lorrie Goldin


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