Haven’t seen you around Medium much lately, Susan. Are you doing okay?

I’m managing. Thanks for asking. It’s hard. I miss the children desperately. But, as I said in my final 103 Days of Creativity post this week, sometimes the missing them is like a dull ache similar to the back pain I’ve had since a childhood horseback riding accident. And, just as that back pain has excruciating flare-ups, so does the pain of missing them, often leaving me breathless and crying.

One of our favorite restaurants to visit with the kids has most of its seating outdoors with a stage where bands play Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. There is also a large field and a sandbox. Children are always playing tag, throwing baseballs or footballs, and playing soccer. My grandson loves soccer. Other than the few moments he would stop to eat, he’d spend the rest of his time at that restaurant out in the field playing a pick-up game of soccer with whoever wanted to join him. Since they moved at the end of June until last Friday, I refused to go there. But, last week a local non-profit that I strongly support had a fundraiser at that restaurant so I gathered up my strength and went. It was heartbreaking. I kept seeing my grandson playing soccer in that field. It was like his spirit hadn’t left. I saw him sitting across the table from me, too, and heard my granddaughter singing along with a song the band played. I managed to get through the evening but it was very difficult and depleting. I don’t want to return.

We talk on the phone and video chat. I send packages and they call all giddy about what the box contained. But, it will never be the same. They have a whole new life I don’t know, friends I’ve never met, a school I haven’t seen. I feel so disconnected. Kids grow and change so quickly.

Traveling that far is problematic for me. I work a lot. To take a trip that far away, I’d have to miss at least a week from work. For me, a week is 50 or more hours. So hard to make that up. And, when I could consider getting away from work, they are in school. When they are out of school (Christmas break, spring break, and summer), I am working 60 or more hours a week. Add the fact that I hate to fly and my husband can’t fly (health reasons) and it’s too far to drive, that leaves us with Amtrak. No direct train route from Florida to where they are. Multiple trains — about 32 hours traveling time. If I take a week off work, I’d spend almost four days of it traveling!

I have to wait for them to come here. I know they will be here for one weekend in December because my daughter and her husband, who were married at the courthouse last year, are going to have a full wedding here in December. But, she is in college and the kids are in school before and after the date of the wedding. A quick trip here for the wedding and then they leave. With all the wedding doings, there will be little time to actually enjoy the kids.

I’d like to have them for Christmas but my daughter won’t commit. Her in-laws want the family to visit too. Christmas is a busy time of year for me at work and I need to make arrangements well in advance or I won’t be able to take off the time. But, as I said, my daughter won’t commit.

So, I work, write, walk my dogs, do a little gardening, read. I used to cook but the kids were always involved in the food prep so I can’t stand to cook anymore. The kitchen feels too lonely without them and so much of the food we used to cook — the kids and I loved to bake — my husband can’t eat (diabetic) so why should I bother? I miss the times the children and I spent in the kitchen!

There is this sadness shadow over everything. I cry often. But, it does no good — nothing changes.

I was always a writer but lived in a bookkeeper’s body before I found Medium and broke free — well, almost. Working to work less and write more.

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