Upside Down Expat Upside Down Mind

Fleeting Feelings: Missing Mum

Mother and toddler

This is part of a new series of short ‘fleeting feelings’ articles based on the thoughts and emotions that often arise when we are living away from our families. This one is about missing our mums and parents, and understanding how it must feel to have their children live so far away from them.

My three year old daughter is growing fast.  I was recently watching her sleeping, as I so often do, and thinking about how watching our children ‘grow’ is a strange sentiment as a parent. The shifts in development are, while significant, so continuous that rarely do we see them entirely consciously.  It’s only looking back on photos, or in spare, rare, moments of reflection, that their leaps in development become so apparent. As I thought about this, I had a strong, yet imagined and momentary, visualisation of my daughter stood facing me fully grown, telling me she was leaving home. For a few seconds it felt like I was really there. I looked at her gorgeous face with her still curly hair. She was taller than me but still so much my treasured, innocent and adorable baby. And in that moment I experienced an intense physical sense of how I will feel when she’s ready to go. I felt a deep ache. But I realised that the real definition of a decent parent is the decision, when the time comes, to let them leave without expecting anything in return. Because if we are really the self-sacrificing, liberating and unconditionally loving parents we think we are, what begins as a largely selfish act must end with an entirely selfless one. We must find it deep within ourselves to let our children go and find themselves. Knowing that, while they will always be the centre of our world, we won’t always be the centre of theirs. And I thought about my own mum, and how it must feel to have your child emigrate. To have all those years with your child so close and then be away from them almost everyday. And I cried a little. Because while our mums (and parents) may not be the focus of our adult lives,  they are the most important and influential individuals of our lifetimes. And it’s the strongest, selfless and most successful mums that know, after many years of giving our guidance; for our grown children to fully grow, we must truly let them go.

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8 comments

  1. Seychellesmama

    Oh goodness this brought tears to my eyes. As always so so beautifully written! I always feel like I relate to your posts so much and nod along with everything I read. Thank you so much for sharing this with #myexpatfamily I always love reading your posts!
    Like the new blog design too!

    1. nicolaelisabeth34@gmail.com Post author

      thank you! I’m glad you relate and enjoy them 🙂 thanks for sharing on your site x

  2. Mummy and the Mexicans

    Such a lovely post about something I don’t really want to think about! I can’t imagine what it will be like when my own daughter (now 2) leaves home. Luckily I have many years to get used to the idea. Being so far away from my own parents does make me feel sad. #MyExpatFamily

  3. Lillyflower

    What a lovely well written post. I am one of a few ( although I feel like the only one ) that has emigrated leaving their adult children behind. We moved here with my husbands job. I hoped beyond anything that the kids would follow, one has for a time but has now returned to the uk. I wish my kids could see that this is a better life but they are in their early 20’s and don’t see the bigger picture. As a Mum, this is the hardest thing I have ever done, I know it was my choice – I love the lifestyle here and have no pull to take me home back to a life of dreary weather and traffic, but miss my children dearly.

    1. nicolaelisabeth34@gmail.com Post author

      Hi – I’m glad you enjoyed it. Perhaps they will join you later in life I don’t think I would have been ready to leave my life in my early twenties I was only just enjoying my hometown as an adult and it still felt so exciting then, working, going out etc. I bet that’s hard for you but you are giving them an amazing option for later when they’re done with the UK! 🙂

  4. Sam

    Nic, you’ve made me cry! Lovely post and having just said goodbye to Mum – even with all the tough times – I don’t think I’ve missed her so much.

    Possibly ‘cos that’s the most amount of time I’ve spent with her since I lived at home at 18!!

    1. nicolaelisabeth34@gmail.com Post author

      Aw Sam I feel your pain! Hope you had a lovely time with your mum must be hard after having her around for such a long time! Big hugs xx

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