For most of my life, i have labored under the delusion that i prefer “natural”. I try to buy mostly small farm and organic food. I make my own perfumes and most of my own toiletries. I don’t dye my salt and pepper hair. Other than laundry, i mostly clean with vinegar. I try “holistic” remedies before resorting to drugs. I mean, i’m not a full-on hippie: I wear makeup, shave my legs, and cave to the occasional desire for McDonald’s french fries; but i do try to go the wholesome route when possible. Natural is better, right? I thought so, but a conversation with my middle weedling this morning made me realize that sometimes the natural order of things sucks.
Poison ivy is natural, and it sucks.
Ditto for mosquitos, periods, booger-filled sneezes, and the idiocy and flippancy of a teenager.
But most of all, worse than aging, radishes, and the smell of skunk combined is the natural order of watching your weedlings grow up and move on.
My oldest daughter, for all her awe-inspiring baddassery, is a loyalist and a caretaker more than anyone outside her immediate circle would believe. Because of that, she is never gone for long. Visits, even when she isn’t living 2 streets over, are frequent. She gets worried when she hasn’t heard from me in a while. And even if, in the future, we are living on opposite sides of the globe, we will be meeting up for adventures as often as possible. Her spreading her wings as an adult, while difficult, was tempered with the knowledge that she would always be back.
My middle weedling is a different story alltogether. The college she chose, a military academy, means that she has very little time to visit home. And what time she does have is split between myself, her father, and her boyfriend. (For those of you with weedlings in “normal” colleges, imagine your parental loss, and magnify it by a factor to account for none of the usual weekends, nor most of the requisite vacations.) And not for nothing, i know that when she graduates, she will be far-flung and not likely to be able to return home easily. Her daring and accomplishments have made us all proud, but her absence still sucks.
I know, i know. Genesis, Matthew, Mark, Ephesians. Peter, Paul, and Mary. And Laura Ingalls Wilder. Many wiser voices than mine have made it clear that this is the natural order of things. Well, so is death, but unless you are the highest order of Buddhist monk, i can’t see you being happy about it. None of the wise voices ever said that the natural order was pleasant.
I don’t deny that i am looking forward a little to my pre-decrepitude. Being able to travel on the fly. Truly being my own servant and master. Not having to close the bathroom door. But those perks don’t make up for the fact that i can no longer call my children home when i want them here.
Yes. I realize that is selfish. But that, too, is “natural.”
Of course, as much as it hurts to watch your weedlings grow up and “adult” on their own, it’s not like i want them staying in my house forever, either. My older weedlings make great adults. They give me hope for the future. My son will as well, when it is his turn. Them growing up isn’t so painful that i want them living in my basement. That would seriously hamper my pre-decrepitude plans.
So maybe, in spite of this middle weedling’s more distant life, i will survive. The pride i feel at seeing what she accomplishes, coupled with my own expected shenanigans as a carefree, gypsy broad when my son reaches the age of ascension, and my years of solitude begin, might just be the Benedryl for my “natural order” allergies. I will still have a reaction to the loss of weedlings to weed-hood, but the medicine of taking advantage and living well might make it a little less severe.
But i’m still gonna wish i saw them more.