Today I gratefully showed around a very nice woman who will take care of my cats in our absence starting tomorrow. To my surprise, Meow-stache didn't scurry away, and in fact, watched the stranger intently. This lady is an animal expert, and approached my new BFF...I moved to join the party, but then realized: no! I had to invoke the circle pact! And so I just backed off and let them get to know each other without interference.
Such a nothing moment in most lives, but for a mother already adjusting to missing children and the loss of continuity of their lives, it was almost like a referendum. I've ever been a possessive or protective or involved sort of mom; I give my kids -- and myself -- a lot of space and mostly let them drive our interaction. Turns out, the hands-off thing doesn't work well with this new concept of "quality time" -- making the most of every moment, enjoy all of it, blah blah. Moments pop up and present themselves, we do things sometimes, but I've never made the most of every moment. There's always been a lot of just being in the same space passively without making it active togetherness, doing our own thing, being available to each other, passing in the halls. I like to listen to their activity in the background (well, until the boys turn it into a bloodbath).
Should I be on with them, sit and read books, play games, do puzzles? I've never been that way. Gardening, the occasional foosball war and of course baking together, but they might not want to do those things at any given moment and they're not things I do to be with them; they're just things I do. I miss hanging in the same space all the time....my one-degree-of-separation mom-style doesn't work nearly as well half-time.
Meantime, I'll give myself credit for letting my nervous cat go meet someone else! And of course, I'm so so happy to have my children back close to me....and just around when that's what they want too.
Tomorrow we depart westward and upward into the beautiful snowy Sierras for a glorious week of winter! Nothing more spirit-refreshing than a trip to the mountains with my children.