Passing Through the Membrane

6 05 2011

Since going to–and coming back from–Rexburg, I’ve had much more sympathy for people who work away from their families.

I didn’t miss my kids as much as I thought I would. I tried to, of course, as any good mother would. But the fact of the matter is, while I was gone I had long hours of not thinking about them. At all. Around 8 o’clock each night I would think, Oh! I’d better call the kids before bed.

It was like the thing that normally consumes most of my days (motherhood) was simply on pause while I took a little time off. Consciously I knew things were going on–without me–but their importance (which, in the moment, was often very great indeed) was diminished into a three-minute conversation at the end of the day. I was living a different life. But I still wanted to be a part of my other one.

Two lives. One here. One there.

So all the time I was in Rexburg, I didn’t miss my kids much. As soon as I said good-bye to my parents and got in the car with my brother and sister-in-law and their little one to drive to Boise, though, it was as though the polarity of my inner magnet had switched.


I could feel it drawing me through the membrane, pulling me through some viscous something-or-other from life in Idaho back to life in Washington. I was going home. Home to my kids.

The pull of that magnet seemed to rip open my heart and all the hugs and kisses and tears and laughter I had missed in the weeks I’d been away–all that missing I thought I’d feel and spread out over twelve days–were suddenly felt all at once. I loved and hated that drive to Boise.

I loved that every mile drew me closer, ever closer.

I hated that there are parts of that drive that feel so interminable. (Curse you, road construction! Curse you, highway pile-ups!) If I’d had any hair, I’d have likely pulled it out.

Our reunion the next day was sweet. Colby, after our initial hugs and tickles, would get involved in something he was doing and forget I was there. Then, when I talked or laughed especially loudly, he would look up and smile, occasionally closing one eye and bringing one index finger up to his face to point at me and say, “Mama.”

I’ve been home just over a week now. I feel like I’m finally starting to get my feet back under myself–I did the laundry, took out the trash, made a menu, and went grocery shopping. (Still need to clean out the fridge and organize the pantry. But it’ll keep until next week.) And although I love Being Here, I wish so much that I could also Be There.

My mother is doing well. Her radiation and chemotherapy are moving forward according to schedule, and she’s being taken care of by people who love her. I don’t know that I would be able to do anything that isn’t already being done, but simply Being There would be enough for me.

It’s unfortunate we don’t always get what we want. At least in the moment we want it. Maybe, though, that helps us appreciate it more when we do get it.

Sending you lots of love and hugs, Mom! Wish we were all There on the other side of that crazy membrane.



2 responses

6 05 2011

That part about Colby pointing at you and saying “Mama” brought tears to my eyes! (((Hugs))) I’m glad you’re back, sort of, considering the membrane and all.:)

12 05 2011
Mrs. Olsen

What a sweet post. It’s good you were able to turn off mama-mode for a while. And it was okay because you’re such a good mommy.

I hope you are able to be with your mom soon!

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