Saturday, September 16, 2006

Alone

I remember the first morning that I was alone with Julia after she was born. My mother had spent the first week of Julia's life with us, helping out with baby duty and -- far more importantly -- babying me a bit. I was terrified when she left... afraid not only of being alone and fully responsible for that small life, but even more so of my new reality. My new life as a parent, which had seemed an exciting adventure with my mom constantly by my side to consult, loomed huge and frightening alone; a great big unknown that it was too late to back out of if I found that I didn't like it.

Once again, my mom's helped to pave the way into a life transition for me this past week. She accompanied us to London and helped us set up household in our temporary accommodations, quietly taking over so efficiently that it was Wednesday before I realized that I didn't even know how to run my own dishwasher. She watched Evan while we schlepped around to half a dozen schools with Julia and she watched both kids while we schlepped around to half a million homes with a relocation agent. (More on the home thing shortly; we have a verbal agreement to lease a place, but I don't want to jinx anything by writing about it before it's all finalized in writing.) And at the end of every long day, she was here waiting to hear my stories and share in the triumphs and frustrations of my days.

My mom left this morning. "You're on your own now," she told me as she hugged me goodbye, and the fear and uncertainty I felt in that moment was strikingly reminiscent of the way I'd felt when she left me alone with my first baby. With my mom gone, we are now truly on our own in London. There is no one here to keep an eye on our kids while we do the errands required to get ourselves established. There is no one here to show an interest in our lives or ask about our days. We have each other, and that's no small thing, but there is no one else here who loves and cares about us right now.

I found all of those things and more after Julia was born. In a matter of months, I had built up both my confidence and my community. I had friends to chat with, places to go and things to do, and I have to trust that I will find all of those things here, too. But I don't have them yet, and I know they won't come overnight. I've got a long road ahead of me. And I miss my Mommy.

8 Comments:

Blogger Awesomer Mom said...

I know that feeling. There are just some times when having your mom around is essential. Just think, one day you may be doing that for your kids.

3:15 AM  
Blogger Denzylle said...

I didn't want to be the first to comment because I'm sure you're really hoping to hear back from the people you know to know that there are folks out there who do care about you and want to hear about each day.

However, you don't know me - but I'm also interested to hear how you're finding life here. I've been in your position, working in Manhattan and living in LIC for 14 months. I didn't have children with me so, different challenges, but still challenges. It's a steep learning curve but the greater the challenges, the greater the enjoyment of the experience when you meet them.

Didn't you mention another American woman you knew in London (or was that person now back in the States? - I can't remember...). I can't help out with your children because you don't know me, but I'd be happy to help if you have questions...

You'll make friends, and life will get easier and more enjoyable as you go along. I hope you'll write all about it so those of us who are interested can share your journey.

Good luck to you and your family.

10:15 AM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

Aww, thanks, Denzylle! I haven't distributed this link to many people back home yet, which makes me especially appreciative of comments here right now. It's nice to know I'm not alone!

6:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This one just hit home...

You'll be fine, soon enough.

How is it we can be full-fledged adults and still be able to want our mommies so strongly?

Kristy

6:50 PM  
Blogger Dana said...

Rebecca, I haven't much experienced that "alone in a new country" feeling, but I certainly do understand that empty feeling of being alone with your newborn after your parent has left! At the time, I felt so frightened and you've really beautifully managed to evoke that sense of uncertainty here.

You've brought me along with you and I now can well imagine just what you must be feeling like now.

I'm with you in spirit.

12:29 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I so understand. I really do. Here's to the next weeks and the getting settled and the making of friends...and the return Mom visit.

1:57 PM  
Blogger Rosemary said...

For me it was my MIL -- in her very gently and unobtrusive way -- who made me feel at home wth the new reality of motherhood.

12:45 AM  
Blogger Libia said...

Rebecca,
I know it has been a long time since you wrote this but I wanted you to know that reading this has really moved me. I know the felling of having a new baby and having your mom be there but now we are also planing our move to London and I can just imagine how sad I will be to think about my mom back in NJ.

3:52 AM  

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