The gigantic lump in my throat, and that wind-kicked-out-of-me kind of pressure on my chest have become familiar symptoms after 14 years of putting my daughter back on a plane to England. You would think it would get easier with practice and age, but honestly? Nope! Tatjana really is my favorite person on the planet, and it never gets any easier to say goodbye to her. There is however, the consolation of knowing she’s going home to the loving embrace of someone very special this time, so she does go with my blessing.

Julie Anne & Tatjana Rhodes - saying goodbye never gets easier

Time to see “the glass half full” again. This visit seemed more poignant in many ways – I don’t have a son to compare the experience to, but I can’t imagine anything more touching than the heart to heart conversations Tatjana and I share. The major shopping damage we do together, or the giggles over scrabble games. We packed a lot into three weeks including a trip to Iowa to visit my folks, six movies, four clients, two failed attempts to see art exhibitions, one successful one, a 4th of July concert, and a little pampering time to boot.

Mother/daughter mani-pedi time

I usually indulge in a 24 hour pity party when she leaves, but the truth is I have a pretty full life of my own to get back to, and it’s time for me to walk my own talk. Okay, so maybe 12 hours of boo-hooing. It’s a mothers’ perogative, and I’m still a work in progress. The saying is “seeing the glass half full” (not completely full). What mother/daughter activities and memories do you cherish?

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  • July 23, 2012
    8:57 am

    Oh, Jewels, that has to be so so hard to say goodbye.

    It sounds like you created a lot of brand new memories to keep you going until her next visit.

    And as you said, she’s going home to someone who is going to take such good care of her and makes her extremely happy.

    Being the mom of 3 boys didn’t prepare me for having a girl in the slightest.

    It’s sooooo different. Just the way she and I exchange a look and communicate a million words silently is something that I can honestly say is distinctly different than my boys.

    With Raven being all of 6 1/2 years old, our heart-to-hearts consist of how she wants to be a fairy, why do her brothers insist on playing video games all day long, and when she becomes a mommy she gets to call me ‘grandma’. For whatever reasons she loves that one.

    We started a tradition a few months ago where we go for mani/pedis together. She LOVES it because the ladies there treat her like a little princess, she enjoys being able to pick out zany colors, and she likes getting her feet rubbed (the little diva!).

    So we do that once a month and I cherish it so much.

    Another activity that we do together is cooking.

    Raven is now an expert mixer, egg-breaker, and carrot/potato peeler.

    And that’s something I thank YOU for. Before I became a member, cooking seemed like a chore and a half and I used to forbid everyone from coming into the kitchen because I felt like it added to the agony.

    Now I welcome her help and it creates new, fond memories for us.

    Like when I tell her that the mashed cauliflower smells funny, so she leans over to smell the spoonful and I blot some on her nose. Falls for it every time….

    And we’re all allowed pity parties – I excel at hosting mine!

    Forget about glass half full or half empty. When I get in my moods I just HATE GLASSES so it doesn’t matter, lol!

  • July 23, 2012
    12:01 pm

    My grandmother used to say it was harder to see everyone leave after an especially nice time. Had it been horrible, she would have been happy to see the back of everyone ! LOL

    Such great news to know Tatjana is going to meet someone so special to her too. Much better than a boring trip back to the usual. Hope you feel better!

    • July 24, 2012
      1:26 pm

      I think she found a keeper. I adore him already, and we haven’t even met face to face yet.

  • July 23, 2012
    9:05 am

    ROTFLMAO – “Forget about glass half full or half empty. When I get in my moods I just HATE GLASSES so it doesn’t matter, lol!” I know that one too!

  • July 23, 2012
    9:47 am

    Really, really feeling for you as I read this. May you stay infinitely busy in a good way, with all other things that being you joy until you see her again. Safe travels, Tatjana.

    I’m off to shower. Today is my daughter’s 4th birthday! Already been a fun and busy morning, with much more to come. Making memories around here. ❤ The birthday princess is wearing a tiara and had her special request breakfast of scrambled eggs with cheese and blueberry waffles. 🙂 I cherish the celebrations, but really all the milestones with her! There are so many right now!!! We, too, love our little mommy and daughter shopping trips and pedicures! Xo

    • July 23, 2012
      12:33 pm

      Aw, give her a happy birthday squeeze for me, Simone!!!

      • July 24, 2012
        1:25 pm

        Happy birthday to your daughter, Simone!

      • July 24, 2012
        5:36 pm

        Thank you! She had a really wonderful day. ❤ btw, My toes would make any Disney princess proud. She picked out the BRIGHT pink color, wanted me to have the exact same, and then wanted them to add “sparkles” (glitter)! Lol!!!

  • July 23, 2012
    7:55 pm

    PS The first photo of you and Tatjana is my absolute favourite of all the photos you’ve posted. Loving mom and a little girl that looks like Alice from Alice in Wonderland. Eyes full of that little girl wonder, magic, sparkle of creative ideas… Just beautiful

    • July 24, 2012
      1:27 pm

      It is my favorite too. I keep it in a frame, and smile every time I look at it.

  • July 24, 2012
    1:58 am

    You are allowed to feel sad for a while, but maybe better to put all the memories of the special times you’ve have together in the form of a mother/daughter journal. Something to give her on a special day that might be coming in the not so distant future. You are so lucky to have these wonderful times together! Mum died before we had a chance to do any of the mother/daughter things. I do remember her sitting beside me in the hospital when I was five. She didn’t drive and since I was in a larger hospital than our hometown had, she had to wait until Dad had a day off or my godmother could drive her to see me. I was away for three months, so visits were very special. When my godparents came, they were not allowed in my room and had to talk to me through a phone. My mum or dad would be in my room and hold the phone to my ear so I could hear. At that point, I wasn’t able to talk since I had a tracheotomy. In the early days, I was in an oxygen tent and not really too aware of what was going on. So, I guess those days were the days I was closest to my mum. She was there to hold me, read to me. When I was able to eat, she would cook macaroni and cheese to bring down to me. Sure was a lot better than the stuff served on hospital trays. Kind of sad that mum went to the same hospital for heart surgery two years later. She didn’t make it through. I didn’t know how sick she was when she went away for her surgery. I think of all these things especially today. Dad died 23 years ago today, Mum died 49 years ago on August 28. I guess I’m sharing this with all of you so that you take a moment to look at your little ones and make sure to share special times with them, write down those memories to look at later, with them if at all possible. Life is so short, make every moment count. Life should be enjoyed to the fullest, not endured.

    • July 24, 2012
      8:43 am

      Ruthee, I too lost my mom when I was very young, I was six. I fully agree with you that it’s so incredibly important to cherish the moments we have with our children and make each moment count.

      Your words are so full of wisdom. I want to start a journal for each of my little ones (David missed out, unfortunately).

      Thank you for this beautiful idea and I’m sending many hugs your way.

      • July 24, 2012
        9:12 am

        Jodi, sorry I missed your forum post about the tooth problems! Not sure what has happened, but I’m not getting notifications when there is a forum posting. Hope you’re feeling better!
        Thank you and Rachel for the hugs! Today’s been kind of a blue day, but I’m moving past it. Still, when it’s an anniversary date, you do get to thinking about the person who passed away on that date.
        Heading out to do some beading at a group get together so that will pull me out of my mood. Hope all is well your way ladies!

      • July 24, 2012
        9:29 am

        Hi Ruthee – I’m doing much better, thankfully!

        You’re right, when it’s an anniversary, it is always harder.

        I’m sure you can relate to this – so many people have told me that “your grief feels less and less as time goes on.”

        That is absolutely positively 100% false. The only thing that changes about grief is the ability to handle the pain. The pain itself doesn’t go away.

        I fully understand why today is a hard day for you and I hope that going to the beading group does you a lot of good today.

        Post pics of what you make today!! I always look forward to seeing your creations!

    • July 24, 2012
      6:38 am

      Love to you Ruth. You are surely surrounded by a lot of love you can see and some you can feel. x

    • July 24, 2012
      1:32 pm

      Wise words indeed Ruthee, and so easily forgotten when we don’t have people like you to remind us not only of the health we take for granted (until it’s not there), but appreciating the loved ones that make life so special – none of us know what tomorrow will hold, so it is vital that we live each moment to the fullest. Thank you for being such a blessing in all of our lives. xo

  • July 24, 2012
    9:53 am

    My sister moved to Florida 30 years ago…we keep in touch and get together when we can…I had to stop saying good bye, it was too sad. Now after we see each other, I just tell her, “I’ll see you later.” Her reply, “well let me know what hair color you’ve dyed your hair, I’m always looking for the blonde when you’ve gone red again.”

  • July 24, 2012
    1:33 pm

    Well you KNOW changing hair color runs in Tatjana’s blood as commonly as changing underwear.

  • July 25, 2012
    9:50 am

    My predilection to deny being a redhead makes us both laugh. She left when I was in middle school. The next few years were hard because we had to get thru various schooling…not exactly cheap for either of us because we were determined to get our Master’s degrees. The look when I showed up at the airport with my curly redhair (which I straighten w/in an inch of burning it off) to pick her and the kids up in a nice car…the look on her face was priceless.

    When I finally bought my fixer upper, she was fabulous, she helped me plaster, paint & decorate on the most unbelievably cheap budget. I keep telling her when she sends me something, I should have never bought you a life sized doll hose!