Staring at the boxes of cereal in the pantry I tried not to let the tears out. The past few days I had been trying to hold myself together, but sending my child to another state for ten days was not sitting well with me at all. My grandmother had called earlier in the week to talk to me.
“I want to ask you a question,” she said in her comforting grandmother voice during our weekly phone call.
“Sure Grandma, what is it?”
“Your Dad’s 65 birthday is coming up and I wanted to surprise him by flying Ailani down here.” I could feel my stomach churn into a knot the moment she said it. I was now dreading the question that followed. “So I was wondering if your aunt flew up to get her then flew back, would you be ok with that?” That is when I got a lump in my throat. I have never been away from my child for more than a weekend. Four days was the longest time and that drove me crazy. “It would be for ten days, that way we could all get time with her while she is here. I miss her terribly and so does your Dad.”
“I do not mind because it is you, but we have never been apart that long,” my voice tightened as I focused on maintaining some sense of composure.
“I raised five children and know how to take care of her,” she said.
“Ok, first your Mom lived across the street from you. This is a 1300 mile trip and it is not about you taking care of her. This is about me being her Mom and being away from her for 10 days,” I replied.
“My biggest fear is that I do not have my child in my life.”
In the end I reluctantly agreed to let Ailani go, but it was wearing on me. I knew she would be cared for and that a grandparent vacation would be ten days of spoiling for her. My biggest fear is that I do not have my child in my life. I have been her only parent most of hers. The biological has not been in the picture much at all. Months would go by without so much as a phone call from her side. I suppose I wouldn’t have so much separation anxiety if she had exercised her custody on any kind of frequent basis. So I have come to cherish that I do not have to say goodbye for very long periods of time.
When she is gone at the end of this week I know the house will be quiet, her toys will be lifeless sitting in the corner on her shelf and the smell of pancakes won’t hang in the kitchen as we eat breakfast. Mandy will try her best to distract me and comfort me, but she and I both know that the empty Disney bed will make my heart sink just as much as anything else in our life.
Ailani is the energy and soul of our house. From the moment she was born I knew what it was like to have my heart live outside my chest.