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On a warm day last spring, as we sat sipping coffee under an umbrella at our local Starbucks, my daughter shared the news that her partner had decided to accept a spot in a PhD program in Vermont – some 25ish hours NE of home and an unfathomable distance from ME. I’ve spent the time between then and now diligently trying not to think of her leaving and I got pretty good at it – trying new things, entertaining family, making myself busy. But today I can hide no longer, they’ve driven away waving and promising to Skype and text and write and visit.

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How does a mom say “so long” to a piece of her heart?  I’m not entirely sure yet, but here are a few things I’m promising myself as a way to maybe ease the ache…

  • find something to be grateful for every day
  • look for the magic in my everyday life
  • look for the poetry around me and capture it with my camera or my art or my writing
  • seek out adventures and experience them joyfully
  • write long, rambling letters and mail them to her in messy, painty envelopes
  • take long, thoughtful walks
  • listen to good audio books
  • cook good food
  • proliferate kind art in my community
  • listen to my heart and let it guide my life and my art
  • make things just for me – messy things, ugly things, beautiful things – appreciate whatever comes out
  • establish a morning ritual – a way to ease into my art/making process and make it a spiritual practice
  • find my way back to yoga
  • indulge in daytime bubble baths, no-reason massages, deluxe pedicures

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A few years ago (hmmm, maybe more than a few), when my daughter graduated from high school, I made her a card that featured the quote below…

 “I want to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.”
~Mary Oliver

She now has a piece of this quote tattooed on her arm… just as it has been tattooed on my heart, because I know that the best way I can be in the world is to be someone who is “improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing” – not even of giving my daughter wings.

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