To know me is to know I’m an independent woman. My self-reliant strike got its start at the age of six. Around this time, I’d inform my mom of plans to stay at my best friend’s house for the week, then pack a bag and bicycle my pint-sized self down the road solo. Through high school, college, and life as a young adult, I’ve never been one to get homesick or be known as someone to “miss” my parents.
Then I had a child. All of a sudden, these past few months have found me trying to wrap my head around a whole new level of “Why-can’t-I-live-closer” love for my parents. My mother, especially.
Twice during my maternity leave, my mom, Sandy, drove the 90-minute trip south from Fort Wayne to stay with Nick and I in Muncie for a week. The times she rocked, changed, and got up in the middle of the night with Dean were a god-send for us during those early days of parenthood.
Last week, she and my dad returned from two months of wintering with friends in Florida. My mom stopped to stay with us again for a week as our daycare observed spring break at the university where I work. To say I was excited to have her back in my life this time around would be a massive understatement. Yes, having her help again with Dean was a part of that. More than anything, it was simply her company I found myself missing. Her stories, her laughter, her knack for whipping up a batch of cookies on a whim. There was a night we both crawled under the covers of our hide-away bed to watch TV together over a shared bowl of ice cream. I wouldn’t trade that little memory, and the dozens of others that accompanied them last week, for anything.
Over the weekend, I took her back home and got to see the rest of my family, my brothers, sisters-in-law and sister coming out to my parents’ house to see Dean for the first time since Christmas. I used to wonder why I never moved farther away from home after college, especially given my love for both coasts. Then I had a child. Now I find myself feeling as though living next door to my parents wouldn’t be close enough.
That’s never going to happen. So instead I’ll count down the days until I get to see my parents again—this weekend for their birthdays, actually—and look forward to capturing more sweet moments of them loving on my boy like this.