Staring into the Blue



Each morning I take a small, circuitous walk of my in-the-middle-of-nowhere-in-Africa garden (an anomaly: suburbia juxtaposed with sprawling, arid isolation). It’s desiccating fast. Jaundiced grass thin and dry and spitefully sharp against bare feet; termite tunnels crumble where I tread, meringue fragile. The dogs follow me. My old-gold lab suffers with stiff hips early in the day; it means she walks as if dancing in dressage, a little gingerly: an elderly lady on too-high heels. The cat follows at a safe, disdainful distance.

My mind is full of my son’s departure. He leaves home tomorrow. School done. Future yawns. He has declined a place at university, in lieu of another journey, an adventure of a different shape, and I am pleased for I think, for a while, he felt compelled to follow in other footsteps. Convention is sometimes safer, especially when the shape of shoe has already hollowed your path rendering it a little easier. Perhaps my constant admonishment when the children were younger, don’t be sheep, struck somewhere, sometime and stuck. So that now he has the courage of his convictions to try a slightly different road.  

I am acutely aware of sand slipping through fingers. Of imminent and seismic change. It’s good: it’s all good: it’s what we’re meant to do, us mothers – yield to the freedom of fledglings, encourage them out, shoo, shoo, on your way now as we, I, write itineraries, fill envelopes with hidden dollar bills (just in case) and top up cell phone credit, stay in touch, I urge. But it was partly in this loss, in this changing shape, mutating role, that my mother lost her grip, became unhinged from the happiness that rooted her until Depression slunk in and reduced her world to grey. I know for sure now: the scientists have proved it.  Hell isn’t Blue; it’s the colour of rain clouds.

But as I walk, tailed by my menagerie,  I squint up at the sky and see just blue. Blue and sunshine. And I hope that bracing myself for a shift in patterns and demands and role means it will be a little less jarring.

That the Blue will continue to obliterate the Grey.



11 Responses to “Staring into the Blue”

  1. Carol Says:

    Fab photos – am sure Ben will make the best choices – you have a fantastic job in bringing up such a great young man! Well done you!

  2. nuttycow Says:

    It’s always a brave decision to do something other than what is expected. I’m sure that he won’t regret it, either.

    Am glad you’re ok – I was wondering how things were going since we haven’t heard from you in a while.

  3. Addy Says:

    I feel you for you. That was me last year, waving Kay off to uni. Wishing you blue skies for a long time yet to get over the gut-wrenching parting. Keeping busy is a good cure. As always your post is beautifully written.

  4. Mwa Says:

    You are not your mother. Just remember that.
    I keep waiting for the sins of my fathers to be visited on me. They don’t need to be.

  5. R. Sherman Says:

    A particularly apropos post as we’re packing up to send my daughter away for her first year at college. It is an extraordinarily bittersweet experience, one for which I’ve not yet fully prepared myself.


  6. Mud Says:

    Wish I were as brave as your son.


  7. nmaha Says:

    Sorry, I haven’t stopped by for a while.

    My mum is the same, she’s torn between wanting us to live independent fulfilling lives and wanting us by her side all the time. She supports us through the downs and calls us up crying when she’s missing us too bad. She feels the separation even more now that she’s a grandmother.

    Am sure your son will enjoy and learn along the path he has chosen for himself.

  8. Marianne Says:

    I hope your son will enjoy the next step and that your world will stay blue. I wrote about my Empty Nest last year when my youngest son left home. Still trying to hang on to the blue. Hope you can too.

  9. Lyn Says:

    What a heartwarming post. You nailed the range of emotions just perfectly … the mixed bag of bittersweet feelings — apprehension and concern alternating with pride at the courage of our children. My youngest is headed to university in the fall and I find myself experiencing much of what you describe here:

    “Of imminent and seismic change. It’s good: it’s all good: it’s what we’re meant to do, us mothers – yield to the freedom of fledglings, encourage them out, shoo, shoo, on your way now”.

    Be brave Mama! You should be very proud!

  10. janelle Says:

    your boy is lovely lovely lovely. and my god it must be hard to see him fly away…. feh! xxx j

  11. | Blog | Staring into the Blue Says:

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