After 28 years in CT, I sold everything except what fit into my car, and moved to MN to attend tech school.
It was a journey in many different regards.
I missed the life I had in CT – friends, familiar places, but most of all – family. I had spent the prior 20-some years of my life raising children and they were still in the Northeast. I missed their presence in my life.
At school, I was surrounded by that same age group, but you can not quickly replicate relationships. In fact, you never can.
One day, while eating lunch with a nursing student, I was feeling this loss acutely. My children were successfully launching with two in careers, one in grad school and the last on her way to college.
This is healthy and normal. Unfortunately, the divorce made it a bit more stressful for everyone. Physical and emotional proximity were distant. I was grieving.
She was munching away next to me. We had met at PTK, the 2-year honor society on campus. Then, we became the other half of the work-out group that met with a trainer twice a week. I got to know her even better as we sweat and grunted together every Tuesday and Thursday. She and I laughed at the same jokes.
I had my usual bento box of salad and jar of soup. I looked into it and wondered what my daughters were eating across the country. I wish I knew those details, but I didn’t.
Out of the blue she said, “Hey, would you be my Mom?”
What? I was shocked. “You have a mom. You weren’t hatched.”
She laughed, but then went on, “I don’t really know my mom. She left me at my grandma’s after I was born. I’m not sure where she lives now. I don’t ever hear from her.”
How does this happen? I’m missing my daughters; she is missing a mom.
“Of course, I’ll be your mom. What do you need from me?”
She didn’t have any specifics. At her age, like my daughters, she was learning to meet her own needs, and quite well.
It’s been two years since that conversation. I have moved back to CT. She remains in MN working and going to school.
Most Sundays I get a text from her that says, “Hey.” I call her and we catch up on the week. She has been working as a CNA during Covid. She has moved. She has gotten engaged.
Around Christmas, a box came in the mail. I opened it.
The gift box that came in the mail.
This is the inside lid of the gift box.