The Strangeness Of Proximity: 6-29-11

Dad Visits The Apartment: Last night, for the first time, our daughter’s dad visited her soon to be new home. We set the trip mileage to zero and drove to the next town. Nine miles, eighteen minutes without traffic, between home and future abode. The tour went well and our daughter was proud to show off her bedroom with all the closet space. We roamed around the gardens outside and then headed for ice cream. Dad was complimentary and we remarked on how close we live to her future home. Yes, she liked being back in Connecticut for good. She will miss Riverview but she is glad to be back. She will be much closer than when on the Cape. But there was some discomfort and a peculiar disconnect. Home, but not home. Home but in a new “home.” Close but in another town. Huh?

The Feeling Is Mutual: She is not the only one struggling with this paradox. I am too. How will the week look, will we be together a lot, a little, see a movie, drive to an appointment? How does that work? Once I left home I never lived in proximity to my folks. They were suburbs, I was city. They were in the U.S., I was abroad. They were in Florida, I was in Connecticut. Visits were planned in advance or even when city and suburb were only an hour away, there were no truly casual visits or last-minute plans being made. I have no template for this one nor does our daughter. I miss her already yet no one is really going away. Strange, the whole deal.

Others Are Planning Her Life: The person in charge of Individualized Day planning from ABD sent me an email. She has set up an appointment for our daughter to meet the librarian at the local library where perhaps she might volunteer. I honestly felt possessive and threatened. “We” never talked about her volunteering at the local library. We being me of course. Whose idea was this? She’s my daughter! Silly but powerful. I love libraries, have been on the board of our library, and spent hours in libraries with our daughter, hours. But for several moments, I did feel as if someone were stealing her from me. Loss. Just loss. Or the illusion of loss, more likely.

So Many Changes: School is one thing. We are all accustomed to teachers taking our child in hand and strolling down a hallway, doing the teacher student thing. We know that they will be on that bus at the end of the day, or the semester. But this experience fits into no box, no template, nothing I have known before. And I guess I am scared…just a bit. Sad, scared, change. Change gets confused an awful lot with loss. Need to adjust that linkage a bit.

Gaudi and Peep: The visit with Gaudi, a black Percheron/Friesian dressage horse, and Peep, the starling with a penchant for beaking her way through ladies’ tresses was wonderfully satisfying on all counts. Gaudi is a majestic 1500 pound glossy black velvet soul who sports a fine “apple butt” — apparently the horse equivalent of a great tush. Our daughter even tolerated Peep pooping on her arm when flying up to perch on her head, in quest of the perfect bug munch. The two ladies bonded beautifully, seasoned actor and avid theater aficionado, finding common ground on what is good (South Pacific) and just plain awful (The Drowsy Chaperone). And of course total agreement on Johnny Depp, best of all. As the mother of Gaudi and Peep reported, “Your daughter has excellent taste.” Can’t help but be proud of our gal. She knows her stuff.

In their own theaters of life, both Peep and Gaudi are stellar performers too and put on a great show. Thanks V. It was grand.

Jill Edelman, M.S.W., L.C.S.W. 2011

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