Exactly a week ago I was in Florence (Italy) under blue skies and scorching sunshine. It is Monday in Berlin again, and the weekend was a complete blur, having spent most of it in bed suffering from what is called high pressure migraine (stupidly and unfortunately, weather-related) and hits me each and every time the temperature drops and it is cloudy and rainy. The neurologist said engaging in sports would help the other manifestations of migraine, but not the high pressure one, and he was right. Ever since I started playing tennis again I have had less attacks, but then the weather did a 360 on me and it all went downhill from there.
I look out my window as I write this, and can’t help but reflect on the huge changes in my life I have been struggling with. When I returned to work last week, the question of the day was “how was your holiday?” – holiday? what holiday? I was in Italy to visit my daughter, thus entering a whole new phase in my mother-daughter relationship. On google maps, when you use the navigation feature there is a little button that pops up called “re-centre” and that is exactly the way I feel. The desperate need to press re-centre and focus on the path ahead.
After helping her move to Florence last year, this was the first time I visited my daughter again. Usually she comes “home” to me in Berlin and I get to be a pampering mom all over again. This time the tables were turned and for the first time I was a mere visitor in her territory, making appointments to meet up and then going home in separate ways. Separate ways. Motherhood can be damned painful sometimes, and this whole process of letting go and moving on is easier said than done.
For 18 years I had the privilege (and I recognise it now as a privilege) of living with my daughter and knowing that if I wandered into her room or the kitchen I would find her there. Now I have to schedule visits and constantly part ways at the bus or train station or the airport. She has her own life to live, a path to journey, and so do I. The mother-daughter friendship that we so intimately shared and built up over the years now enters a new phase and has transformed into two adult women visiting each other.
I watch young mothers obsess and fuss over their babies and toddlers with envy, knowing what I know now, and never fail to dish out the unsolicited advice to make the most of those precious years when the children are entirely dependent on you. The need to be needed by your child fades all too soon and if you are like me, who only has one child, the emptiness is is greater.