My son left New Orleans, trailer hitched and full of belongings, dog in the pickup, en route to Oregon, his final destination this morning at 8:30. His wife, our daughter-since-October, has been living with us for two weeks. She began a job after a series of Zoom interviews that convinced the powers-that-be in a small Oregon city nearby that they’d be foolish not to grab her (true, that). Two weeks without him, adjusting. And he, left behind tying up all those loose ends—putting their house on the market.

Yes, they had been planning a move West before the pandemic. It was always on the horizon, but then Covid and an intimate family wedding rather than a NOLA send-off with friends and family from near and far. And a year that, instead of giving them a chance to say goodbye in full New Orleans splendor, slunk abashedly, away.

When I told Alex, my daughter-in-law, that I’m embarrassed to admit how glad I am to be a senior going through this time, she agreed saying, she’s not 20, she doesn’t have any kids, she could work from home throughout the quarantine—and she’s not in a high-risk group, either, with a smile. She also admitted that it feels like they, “left the party early.”

All I want is for my “kids” to be happy. Anyone with kids feels the same. It’s a selfish thing, really. There are so many reasons to be grateful, and our kids have real gifts. They are coming to jobs; they made this choice. But they are transplanting. And change brings growing pains.

When my husband and I moved here, it was a dream come true. Different. Adjustment, yes, but dreams stretch to fit when they’re good ones.

When Sam, my son, was getting ready to go to college, he said, “You know, mom, I’m working at a real disadvantage here as a writer. All the great ones have experienced suffering. You and dad have given me nothing but the good stuff.”

Time will tell how this move will evolve. Whatever happens, there will be a new chapter in his story.

15 thoughts on “Bittersweet”

  1. The year that “slunk unabashedly away” – – indeed! What a powerful line that is! I really enjoyed your post. Bittersweet is how it made me feel – the perfect title.

  2. I love the line, “dreams stretch to fit when they’re good ones.” It’s a line filled with spirit and good, common sense at the same time. I have to agree, your title is perfect!

    1. I am intrigued by your job, a teacher in Brussels, Julie. I look forward to reading this year’s posts. (Is today’s the “About Me,” or did I miss something?)

  3. I had to laugh when you said how your son has not had much suffering since you and your husband have given him a good life. I laugh because I have hear similar thoughts from my own boys, especially as it is coming time for the dreaded college essay for my younger son. We are lucky to be able to provide a good life for them, and your son has the awareness and maturity to recognize that! That is so sweet.

    1. Funny you should mention the college essay. That’s what preceded the comment. You just reminded me of a Slice possibility. That’s one good thing about kids: stories!

  4. I am struck by your slice…and that is compounded by the slice I am working through about my own son, now 15 and full of I-know-everything. I feel like your slice is a glimpse into a possible future. Thank you.

  5. I think it goes without saying that every parent wants what’s best for their kids and want them to be happy. Closing a chapter of ones life is slways bittersweet, but oh the possibilities of what lies ahead. Wishing your son a safe trip.

  6. I know that’s a hard move for you. They never tell you how hard it is to be a mom. My son is going to high school this fall, and he’s been with me at my school since 6th grade. The transitions are hard. Sending you hugs!

    1. Thanks, Krissy. Actually he’s moving toward me. He left the night after college graduation for New Orleans, so his coming in my direction brings me joy. I just hope it brings HIM joy, too!

  7. Oh yes, parting with our children is difficult, it sounds like an adventure for your son and daughter-in-law, thanks to an amazing job offer. Your son is very aware with his comment, we protect our children and then when the suffering comes, we are devastated, but it’s a necessary part of life!
    Suddenly all our kids are around us, bar one, instead of us all being scattered all over the continents and it’s quite weird and I don’t know how to make the most of it…!!

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