The week long visit is over. Alpha daughter has left, returning to husband and child and their home in Germany. We'll go see her in a few months, and she'll be moving back to this country this summer. Meanwhile, we have Skype and email to stay connected. And yet, we are teary-eyed to see her go.
Paterfamilias is in touch with his feelings on this one. The visit, he says, is bittersweet. Having her come home without husband and child [what he refers to non-pejoratively as her 'adult baggage'] triggers the vibrations of the child-rearing years. We are long past that phase of parenting, but for the past week we have "relived" those vibes. We were able to re-connect with our daughter as an individual, rather than as part of her own growing family. She is here for a conference, and we get to hear about the people she's met, the papers that have been presented, where her work fits into the scheme of things. We learn subtleties about where she is in her career, what she's working on, what plans she has for the future. We have uninterrupted conversations we are not able to have when her young family is around.
Now she is leaving, and that brings the bittersweet to a head. "We want to see her blossoming, to see her career taking off," PF tells me, trying to reassure both of us. "We bring our children up to fly away. When they come back for a visit and then go off, we feel that separation all over again."
I recall other partings, times when I would visit her when she lived three time zones away on the other coast. Her child--one of my precious Grands--was a baby; she and h er husband were struggling to get their careers going; their day-to-day life seemed overwhelming. At the end of the visit, I would sit in the back of the taxi taking me to the airport and sob, wishing I could stay there to help her but knowing it was not my job anymore.
I tell PF, there's a reason for the expression, Parting is such sweet sorrow.