Missing my boys

I have two sons, aged 22 and 19. In the last few years since I moved north, I have only seen my boys a few times, bar when my youngest son lived with me for two years to complete his schooling. I think about them every day. Usually just in passing, such as hoping my oldest son will make some comment on Facebook that tells me a bit about his life and how he is travelling. He is a snappy dresser with a sweet girlfriend, he works at a place he loves and he is finally doing the uni course that I think he is well suited to – journalism. He has high falutin’ tastes but underneath it all he is a sweet, desperate to please young man, extremely loyal and easily hurt by those who are not. My youngest son is a typical non-communicative boy, who rarely rings and when he does it’s not much more than grunts and clicks. He is an amazing worker, quiet and driven, and a bit of a geek cave-dwelling loner who loves music and sound engineering, but he is not without friends. Both my boys are beautiful looking young men, handsome, tall, slim, all cheekbones and wide smiles. Like all mothers, I love my boys to bits, and I’m proud of their achievements. I remember when my oldest boy was unhappy and his adolescence was miserable. There was nothing I could do short of love him and be a bit miserable with him. I remember when my youngest son broke his arm three times at school and I didn’t have the fight in me to sue the school for negligence.

Why am I writing about them today? Because as I begin the weary trudging path of my final year of the PhD, I am aware of how much I miss them. So much it hurts. I’ve not seen them since July last year and I can’t just pop over to see them or ask them out for lunch or have them over to dinner. I live 1800 kilometres from my boys, who have chosen to remain living in the “cool” city, and I can’t just get on a plane like I can get in my car, and drive round and spend a couple of hours with them. It was my choice to move – to a new husband in his home state, whose younger children and career prospects took precedence over mine.

My relationship with them has not always been easy. After a few difficult months where my oldest boy at 16 years spent more time at his dad’s house than at mine, I decided enough was enough and that he and his brother should live with their dad full time. It was not a happy parting – I made foolish mistakes then with my approach and hurt them terribly. But it was good for them. They were able to see that their dad is not all they thought he was, and they can see that there is a good reason he and I are not together. The experience of living with their dad has made them realise how ill he is and how they will have to look after him as he ages. It has grown my boys up, made them loyal and determined and independent. It has shown them that being a victim is not a good way to be, and that blaming everyone else for one’s problems is futile. As a consequence of this my boys are solids, they are oaks, they carry my strong genes, my family’s notions of loyalty and care, and are great humans.

So, I miss them. I wonder if they are ok. I wonder if they are travelling ok. I just want to have coffee with them, darn it! I wonder how many people miss their children when they leave the nest? I’m not sure if I’ve read about it before. No-one seems to write about how mothers feel when the chicks leave, except to say things like what a relief it is, and how glad they are to have the house back again. Well, I don’t agree. I miss my youngest in particular because I rarely saw him but at least he did the dishes and I loved his kooky sardonic sense of humour. He was tidy and quiet. I loved being able to hug him and hold his body, all angles and hard planes. I miss my oldest because even though he has not lived with me for six years at least I was able to see him every day at the school where I worked, and talk to him about stuff, and I miss that conversation-in-passing stuff. The stuff you have with your family that is careless and taken-for-granted and needed. I miss all of that. But most of all I miss my boys and I miss not being able to hug them and laugh with them and get irritated by their music and despair of being able to dress my youngest in clothes other than cargo pants and t-shirts. I miss being a mum.

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4 thoughts on “Missing my boys

  1. Jess, I really feel for you, am a bit teary having read your posts. I know that parenthood continues until death splits us asunder from our darlings. Hopefully we get to go before them as the reverse is unthinkable. I don’t have any advice except tell them you love them and miss them. I think they would like to hear that.

    1. Thanks hon, it has mostly fine, except that sometimes missing them hits me so strong it’s like a blow to my stomach. And today was just one of those moments. I can handle it mostly, but sometimes I write on my research blog how my life is panning out rather than research thoughts. I miss my Melbourne friends and family so much and usually it’s worse after about 6 months. I am into my 7th month of not seeing them so I’m a bit sad just at the moment! Love and miss you too, you know!

      1. Jess I have just read your blog. I get it even though I am not a mother. Family is so important to me. I made it clear to my hubbie when we first got together nearly 20 years ago that moving wasnt an option for me. very selfish of me, because he has moved so far from his family. He didnt leave his family to be here with me, so I feel that he was already established here before we hooked up. It is a huge thing to leave your family & move so far away. He goes twice a year to visit, but there is so much you miss out on. We dont have our own children so our nieces & nephews are very important for us. The 4 in Adelaide are growing up & we dont get to see them often. I see them every 2 years. We simply cant afford for me to go as often as hubbie.

        My 3 nephews up here are almost grown too. The oldest turned 21 on Saturday & is such a lovely young man. I want to get to know him as an adult, but he is moving to Sydney soon to be with his girlfriend. The other 2 are 19 & 17. Since I was diagnosed, my energy levels for nearly 10 years have been so low that family visits have been limited. I feel like I have missed them growing up Jess. When they were young we spent a lot of time with them. I hope they remember those times. Now I want to develop strong relationships with them as grown ups.

        It isnt the same as your own children I know. But I sometimes do feel very sad to have missed so much. The up side is Mr A. & I have the best relationship & I couldnt imagine my life without him & he feels the same way. As it has turned out his performing career has had to take a back seat, & he is my inspiration in the way he has turned his abilities to being the very best educator & mentor he can possibly be. My family loves him to bits & we have the best friends & colleagues including yourself. So I guess we just try to focus on the positives in our life. I am loving your blog Jess. You write so well. xx

      2. Thank you Deb for your lovely words! I truly appreciate them, and I’ve been inundated by comments and best wishes from friends both in QLD and Vic who “get” this stuff I’m prattling on about. I write as an antidote to my studies, but sometimes I write so that I can put shape to my feelings. A fine line between too much venting and not enough PhDing! And I do miss my boys very much, and I’m not sure when I’ll get a chance to see them this year. Hopefully soon.

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