The kids are moving -- again

May 17, 2012 By Betty Starks Case

Yes, I know Mothers Day is past. But this isn't your typical Mothers Day story. Yet one way or another, it does involve adults and children.

First, Jessie the cat brought a baby rabbit into Son's and Daughter's house in the night.

Second, our kids are moving away.

These subjects are not directly connected. But they are out of the ordinary.

Jessie brought the baby rabbit in on Mothers Day. Strangely, she did the same thing last year on Mothers Day. So what is this odd behavior about?

Jessie never had a baby of her own. Is she considering adoption?

Or does she think Daughter, whose grandchildren live far away, needs a soft, warm baby to hold on Mothers Day?

Cats may possess a deeper mentality than we think. When Son was a small child, Grandma Cat, who had many children of her own, was also very attached to ours. More than once she brought a mouse, laid it at his feet, then looked up at him and meowed as if wondering why he didn't show some appreciation for her gift.

The rest of my post-Mothers Day story is that we must deal with the announcement that the only son and daughter we have are moving from Riverton to Washington state.

Granted, we aren't the first parents to experience such an event. I just hadn't planned to wean myself twice.

At first news, it seemed the floor had dropped from under us. We just sat there, silent as the pile of Wyoming rocks they'd gathered in trying to bloom where they were planted.

We'd grown accustomed to Sunday dinners together, wonderful home-cooked meals, holidays and other shared celebrations, ATV excursions with great picnic lunches, and always a quick response when we needed help.

We took it all for granted, never thinking it could change.

Quite suddenly, it did.

OK. We'd been spoiled. And pampered.

Son and Daughter lived in Washington state for about 15 years after their marriage. We were accustomed to frequent phone calls and several visits a year and told ourselves that's just how it is when your offspring grow up and lead their own lives.

Then they advised they were moving to Riverton. We reveled in our good fortune. For seven years we enjoyed having them near, grew accustomed to the quick, caring support at the ring of a phone, to endless invitations to share a trip or adventure. Our lives were warm and full.

Yes, we were spoiled and pampered. Complacent, in fact.

But important health matters now play a part. We support them as they make the move they feel necessary to their lives.

We want to make it as easy for them as possible.

And yet -- when we stopped by their house the other day, there stood the obnoxious (to me) sign: "Home for Sale."

"That sign should be hauled to the dump," I said, trying to make myself laugh.

Daughter smiled, pretending in her own gracious way to enjoy my dumb joke.

The next day, we hear "We have an offer."

We're happy for them. But we realize -- we must also be strong. We're older now. We must call back the independent strengths we once used to care for ourselves, before we so readily leaned on those offered by a loving family.

More often these days, I'm hearing my mother's determined voice.

"This is my life, and I will live it."

Our challenge is not nearly equal to hers. At this point, possibly not equal to the one our children face. But as the long ago Doris Day song goes, "Que Sera, Sera. The future's not ours to see. What will be will be."

I just thought of another thing: Our kids can call up this column on from wherever they live and decide, "Does she still have all her marbles? Or should we catch the next flight to Wyoming?"

Hmmm ... Maybe I have more power in this event than I thought.

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