New Chapters

At the airport (thank you Lopes family!)

Molly has moved all the way across the country. I wager she misses our dog Rufus as much as she does me, her mother. I get it – and regularly send her pictures of him. She responds with emojis – mostly hearts and texts like: “My boy!” “I miss him so much!”. But after I’d texted her the cute photo below, she wrote: “Mom, I think his harness is on backwards lol!” I’d given Rufus a bath a few days before because he’d rolled in something putrid that he thought smelled lovely. He’d been wearing it like some inside-out, backwards shirt since. Molly immediately Face-timed — both our faces scrunched in laughter and wet from belly-cramping guffaws. Through time and space, there we were, still sharing a silly moment together. We laugh a lot at goofy things like this. And we hug multiple times a day and always when we say goodnight. Mostly I am the beneficiary of back cracks but we both get all the love. I do miss those hugs – not yet available through FaceTime.

Harness Fail

It’s been a few weeks now. I think we’re both getting used to it. For the first few days I felt heartbroken and like some creepy stalker, I regularly checked the location app on my phone, staring at an address 3,000 miles away. It was strangely reassuring that I could sort of see where she was and kind of visualize it – imagining a palm tree or two and the impossibly blue sky out there. What I know of Los Angeles is mostly from the movies and television. More than 30 years ago, I was there for less than 24 hours to drop a car off to what turned out to be Ringo Starr’s mother in-laws house. That’s a good story but not the story I’m telling now.

In fact, there is no story yet for this new chapter of our lives of us apart. I’m still digesting the end of the beautiful long one that began when COVID stranded my daughter at home with her mother. Poor kid. It was not her plan to still be with me.

The plan was to land a job, preferably in the entertainment world of NYC and maybe even in a position where her dramaturgy degree would be relevant. She’d commute until she saved enough to move into her own place – she figured six months or so. Then COVID happened. It’s a story I know shared by many parents who mostly, at least the ones I know, agree – loved. Of course, COVID is terrible – but in our little world, hunkered down together, Molly and I – who of course love each other because we’re mother and daughter – discovered that we absolutely adore each other as people well. And we are good roommates.

In some ways, I had the better deal. I work from home and Molly mostly took care of me. She ventured out into the world to buy what we needed, planned incredible menus and cooked fabulous meals. She took on the formidable task of pruning the privet hedge that surrounds our property. We became YouTube fix-it queens – replacing our toilet, fixing a hole in our ceiling (yes, they are related). She wallpapered the bathroom, repaired the garage door, she sewed slipcovers for the cushions on the cool vintage rattan furniture we found on marketplace. She watered our community garden plots, sending me video updates on new blossoms and ripening tomatoes, bringing home garden lettuce for salads and the best BLTs. Every evening, we both went for a long walk with Rufus. It got so he insisted we both take him, turning back to the house if one or the other of us tried to walk him alone.

Summer weekend mornings we launched our kayaks into the Long Island Sound to paddle out to the islands, pulling our boats up on sand bars to watch the birds, read, swim. We binged on favorite shows, read the same books so we could talk about them. We spent hours drinking tea in the morning and coffee around 2, cocktail around 5. Hours of watching the world from our porch, discussing the state of the world and our lives, past, present, future.

I miss her, but seeing her face regularly, as she gives me a tour of the latest improvement she’s made to her room or a walk together down her new street, laughing together on FaceTime, has made the distance seem not so great. With help from modern science, I am adjusting to life on my own.

Don’t get me wrong – when I walk into her room and see a neatly made, empty bed, I miss her. I miss that she’s not within ‘Molly, will you open this jar for me’ distance. But this is exactly what we parents who are graced with healthy children, are supposed to do: let them go. It’s what’s supposed to happen. And she is so ready! I see her joy at being in an exciting and beautiful new place on her own adventure with wonderful friends and feel absolutely content. Fly, my beloved girl! xxx

18 thoughts on “New Chapters”

  1. I would have done anything to be stranded with my boys. Turned out to be over a year before I saw my son who lives in Portland. That was excruciating. But I am glad he stayed safe—probably due to his abundance of caution. Fly high, Molly, knowing you are deeply loved.

  2. Tricia – I get it. The bittersweet feeling of watching a child fly, with the faint niggling fear that they might fall, and the bigger hope that they will soar…

  3. Oh Tricia! I’m teary for you! What lovely routines you describe during Covid isolation. What a gift to have had that unexpected stretch of time together. I grinned at Rufus’s refusal to walk with only one of you! The ending of your piece is brave and poignant….one wishes they didn’t have to fly so far. (My son, his wife, and my two little grandkids are moving to Switzerland next summer….sighhhhhh). Miss you! XXXOO

  4. Thank you, Brett. You know about these daughter joys! I bought your book at one of my B&Ns today – can’t wait! xxx

  5. Oh my, Lea! That’s a big move! (fun to visit… but far!) Miss you too. Let’s try to connect? xxx

  6. I’m feeling all the feelings with this one. Everything you write is powerful, but as the mom of two girls (one in college), this one really hits home. I’m sad for you – and adorable Rufus – that you lost your unplanned covid roommate, but excited for her and you and your next set of adventures. Maybe another LA trip for you soon? And we have to hear the Ringo Starr MIL story.

  7. The ultimate love often shows itself when the last two survivors on a fabled island find themselves forgetting how long it’s been since they were shipwrecked. They begin to build lives as if they knew no one was coming from ashore,

  8. What joy, to discover that you not only loved each other, but liked to be together. What a gift. Thanks for a glimpse into the future. You are brave and strong.

  9. Hi My Dear almost 4:30 am here in the west of Ireland ..could not sleep! Just read this..what a sweet post & beautiful tribute to your time with Molly..I know you miss her..but she will have the most amazing time learning & seeing new things.. massive hugs my dear high Molly❤❤xxx

  10. What a beautiful post, Tricia…..and what a beautiful daughter you’ve raised. So glad we got to see you both before she left. It is a truly bittersweet rite of passage. Love you both…….

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