Chris’s parents left for the airport at midday today, so I asked the nanny to stay with the baby until they left so that they could say goodbyes and get some cuddles in before their flight. I know they’re both sad to be leaving, knowing that Kaia will be growing and developing by leaps and bounds between now and the next time they see her, which will hopefully be at the end of this year. And honestly, it made me sad, too, as the days wound down and we approached today, to know that they were leaving. I really enjoyed having them here and seeing them enjoy cuddles and quality time with their granddaughter.
After the Uber left, the nanny took Kaia to Riverside Park, and I went back upstairs to get my pump set up, and my eyes just welled up. I thought about how happy Kaia was to be with her grandma and grandpa, and how quickly time flies and how all that time will be spent apart. I thought about how outside of Chris and me, Kaia really has no family nearby to love and care for her unconditionally, and that suddenly made me feel so lonely for her. I don’t want my daughter to be alone or feel alone. I want her to be surrounded by people who adore her. And those people who love and adore her and have spent so much happy and loving time with her in the last few weeks are now leaving. How much will she really know them or care for them with the distance between them? How much will she understand them, or they understand her? How much of a relationship will they really share? I’m not sure. I can already imagine her a little older, able to speak, asking them, “When will I see you again?” And I can already imagine myself tearing up at the question.
I’ve never really cried or gotten upset when Chris’s parents have left before. Of course, in past visits, I’ve been a little sad once they’ve left since they bring so much happy, positive energy to our home every time they are here. I mean, seriously… these are people who get excited over a simple, all-natural bar of soap that suds well to the point that they rave about it and then go back to Whole Foods two hours before departing for the airport just to get more! They genuinely appreciate the simple things in life that the rest of us take for granted. But this time, it’s different with Kaia here. I just had that sad, sinking feeling in my stomach when I stood at the kitchen counter, alone with my pump, after they were all gone. It’s different because Kaia’s presence is also a reminder to them and to me that they’re getting older; we’re all getting older. At some point, they may not be able bodied enough to visit us on this long-haul flight. They don’t even have access to health coverage while here, and in an emergency if they needed it, it would cost a fortune (which is supposedly covered by their credit card, but who the hell knows how much would really be covered?!).
On the other hand, I guess I also mourn my own relationship with my own parents, and Kaia’s soon-to-be relationship or lack thereof with them. As my therapist frequently told me before I ended sessions with her before Kaia’s arrival, it’s okay to be sad for what you wish you had but don’t have. As we all know, we cannot control our parents or our relationships with them. They are what they are to a large extent, especially when we’re talking about people who are just flat out unstable. It’s okay to wish you had a relationship with your parents that never existed. It’s okay to feel envious of Chris’s parents, but also be aware that you still get to enjoy them as in-laws.
It is what it is. We cannot control everything. But it also makes me wonder sometimes… what am I really living for? Sometimes, I’m not even sure what my end goal is.