The contractions started just after midnight. I was already three weeks late so I’d been eager to just “have this baby already!” But the pain was unlike anything I’d ever felt. Then a wave of panic hit me like a brick. Suddenly, it became harder and harder to breathe. I guess this is what they teach you in Lamaze. Too bad I blew off the class…
Last week, my baby, now in her early 20s, made it hard for me to breathe yet again. There were no contractions, just an aching mommy heart.
She says she’s in love and is somewhat engaged. I say "somewhat in engaged” because she and her boyfriend do not believe in marriage (don’t blame them) and neither want kids (whew!), but he gave her a ring. She said something about the ring representing his commitment, but I have to admit I got a little light-headed at this point. But nothing could have prepared me for what she said next…
"He’s asked me to move in with him."
I can’t breathe! The room is spinning, my heart is pounding and I can’t breathe!
I can’t let her know that I’m freaking out inside. I can’t ask her to bring me a paper bag while I hyperventilate. I can’t crawl under my desk, cover my ears, chant, "La la la la la la," and pretend like this conversation never happened.
I played it cool. Thanks to my boy Deepak and the meditation I've been doing over the last several months, I was able to get my breathing in check and remain calm. Fast forward 24 hours and I'm freaking the hell out. I can't focus. I can’t breathe. My heart is pounding.
I want to call my mom, aunts, cousins, sisters-in-law, friends, mailman -- anyone who will listen, really -- and freak out all over them with this news. But I don't. I don't because this is a sacred conversation that took place between a mother and her daughter. And daughter hasn't made a decision. And mother is still freaking out.
*Disclaimer: Daughter has since talked to my mom about this which lessens the sacredness and allows me the clear conscience to write about this now.
I wanted to scream, "Don't do it! Don't go! Don't leave me!" but that would only send her packing. Instead, I listened. I asked questions. I presented her with various "living together" scenarios. I gave her a lot to think about.
Is she ready to handle a household? Can she cook? Can she clean? Rephrasing… Is she willing to clean? Rephrasing again… Is she willing to clean up after him?
Is she ready and willing to answer to another person? Can she compromise?
Those of us who have been around the block know that moving in together ain’t all fun and games. Eventually, the romance and newness wear off just like a new toy.
A funny moment (hilarious, actually) in all of this came when she asked if I would continue to pay her car note and insurance if she moved in with him. Excuse me while I compose myself… Bahahahahaha!
I explained that moving in with him means "her bills” become “his bills” or "their bills.”
Speaking of bills, I asked if he was willing to pay her bills until she finished school. And who would pay what once she got a job?
Who pays the rent? Who pays the electricity? Who pays for groceries? Who GOES to the store to GET the groceries?
Of my two kids, she’s witnessed and endured the most during the tumultuous years of my marriage. If you ask me (and her), she’s still messed up over it. Do I want to keep her from true love? Absolutely not! But she still has a lot of healing to do…
We’ve been in our new life for just over a year, and I feel like I just got her back. My baby, my first born… ready or not, she may be leaving my nest soon.
I can’t breathe…