Detachment: the state of being objective or aloof. Open-mindedness, neutrality, impartiality. Abandonment: to leave completely and finally; forsake utterly; to desert; to give up or withdraw from.
This struggle is real for me. I am the mother of four beautiful people who I have raised to be filled to the brim with passion, individuality and independence and I find myself feeling abandoned at times. This feeling causes me so much pain in my center/heart that I can’t breath and I just want to push these people back inside….push them back into my womb where they need me to survive literally.
Whenever I feel overwhelmed with a strong feeling like abandonment I sit and ask myself to get to the root of it. I look up the definition of the word and I see if there is another word that can show up the same way and has a different context/meaning and then I keep that going until the lightbulb goes off. I do this with my work, I do this in my marriage and I do this with my kids.
For me - Detachment feels ALOT like abandonment.
This past year Gabrielle decided she was going to go to Charlotte for Thanksgiving. She went to West Virginia last Thanksgiving, so this feels like two years in a row, she chose another family. Humph! When I texted her to see what her plans were (meaning when are you coming home) and she said “Christian and I are going to Charlotte for Thanksgiving with HIS PARENTS, I felt abandoned big time. I wanted to scream, but you didn’t come home last year….but I haven’t seen you in months (it was only two weeks in reality), but manipulation Mom reared her ugly head. So in the below the line fashion of “passive/agressive” I sent a sad face emoji and said well, ok, I will just be all alone this Thanksgiving ending with heart emoji. Even though I was so far from alone - it really felt that way.
Two weeks ago I was texting my kids from Hawaii. I was sending them all these love notes and missing you notes. My daughter Madeline always responds back with “love you too” or “hurry home” or “jealous, wish I was there”. My son Jude’s response is NOTHING!!!!!!!!!! I felt so abandoned by him that I sent him a personal text (because he didn’t answer the phone call) asking if he recognized that I was even gone???? His response “Yes”. That’s it - just one word Yes. So I said, “Do you miss me?” his response was again Yes, one word just Yes. NO exclamation points, heart emoji, not even in all CAPS. Just Yes. Oh God - abandonment issues again. I wanted a "YES!!!!!!!!!!! I can’t live without you - your amazing and I am starving and dirty and maybe will not live without you."
So here is what the abandonment voice in my head sounds like (picture a whiny, annoying, fast paced rant).
Oh my God, I am a terrible mother - no one loves me - I give them too much responsibility and so that means they don’t need me - I have failed - they are gonna do drugs tonight because of me - they are gonna keep secrets - they are gonna end up in jail with tattooed eyeballs and its my fault - they think I suck - they like everyone elses mom more because they bake cookies for dinner - I should adopt a baby and start over after this failure with my birth children - i should have nursed them for four years - I should have worn them all day and not worked -I should-a should-a should-a - oh god I have a headache now.
GET THE PICTURE????
So I went on my search for what is real. Instead of this fake news bullshit in my head. (fake news sucks, we just found that out right?) The truth is they are practicing DETACHMENT and that is exactly what I have set them up for. It is healthy and amazing and good.
You see, I want my daughters to be fiercely independent and authentic. To love who they love. To make decisions about their bodies based on their truth. To walk into a party and smile and feel confident. To dress how they like to dress, without feeling pressure to dress sexy. To walk into a college interview and nail it. To walk into a job interview and ask for $100,000 because that is what their counterparts with penises will do. To travel the world and see themselves in the eyes of everyone. To camp in the Kenyan wilderness amongst the lions and FEAR NOT. To not ask a boy to kill that spider - but to see the beauty of the spider (Gabrielle will never accomplish this).
I want my sons to be a stand for EVERY single person in their school. I want my sons to be Kind first and Popular second. I want my sons to do their own laundry & cook in college with confidence. I want my sons to choose to love who they love and honor that person to that persons core. I want my sons to have a ninja spirit - calm on the outside while warrior vision on the inside - so they hit it out of the park (all things). I want my sons to not whine about what everyone else has and learn how to earn it. I also want my boys to step up and speak out against bigotry and assholeness (they do this already).
SO if that is what I want - than how can they stay attached to me? How can they depend on me completely and for everything. How can they cease to function when I am gone. I find parenting girls so much easier (for me) because they tell me EVERYTHING! Seriously from how bad their cramps are, what they dreamed about, food cravings, love & what they are confused about and working on. My sons, they just tell me who is the best first baseman in the MLB and his stats. They tell me their favorite soccer play and why. They tell me their high score on their PS4 thingy. Then they tell me when they have an itch on their testicles and laugh because Mom says “I want to know it ALL - good, bad, ugly, stinky. They DO give the best hugs on the planet though.
Moral of this blog post? I am going to choose to allow them to DETACH which means open mindedness and independence. I will choose to not feel ABANDON which means to forsake and desert me. I recognize that I want them to detach - as the string of love and family is so strong and that string can stretch across the world without breaking. It is a pliable, rainbow colored, loving string. My temporary discomfort allows a lifetime of Joy & Love.