Sunday, November 3, 2013

Separation Anxiety

By Kyah Yazzi from Alibis and Amethysts, the first book in the new Crystal Shop Mysteries, by Sharon Pape 
          My parents named me Kyah, and that's how I was known until I gave birth to my son Daniel. From that day forward, I became known as Daniel's mother. For me there was never a finer name. I live on the Navajo reservation near Tuba City, Arizona where I was born and raised like my parents before me, and their parents before them. I raised my son here as well with the love and often meddlesome help of my extended family.
            From the beginning, Daniel was a child of light and joy, with mischief twinkling in his eyes. He was never happier than when he was running wildly with his cousins and friends. I loved to watch him at play. My mother told me I didn't discipline him enough, and I have to admit she was probably right. It was so hard to be angry with him when he looked up at me with those bright, guileless eyes.
            Daniel always had a great affinity for animals. I remember the day I left him in the care of his older cousin while I went to the store. When I arrived home carrying bags of groceries, I was suddenly knocked down by two dogs who were chasing a cat through our house. When I'd left for the store thirty minutes earlier there hadn't been any animals there. These three proved to be the first of many creatures who populated our lives over the course of Daniel's childhood. He brought home so many stray and injured dogs and cats, bunnies and lizards that at times our home looked more like an animal clinic than a human residence. When he was ten he told me he wanted to be a veterinarian when he grew up. My heart stopped cold. Not because of his career hopes, but because it forced me to acknowledge that someday he would leave the reservation. And me.  I don't know why it caught me so by surprise. I'd seen a growing number of our young people venture out into the world to make a better life for themselves. I reminded myself that some of them came back to the rez, diplomas in hand, to bring that better life home with them. Two of my cousin's children had recently returned to teach in our schools.  I held onto that comforting thought with a death grip.
            As it happened, by the time Daniel graduated from high school he no longer wanted to be a veterinarian. He'd decided he was too soft at heart for the job. Having watched him grieve for every animal he couldn't nurse back to health, I understood completely.  So when he headed off to college in Flagstaff, it was with an open mind to the future and the optimism that had always fueled his life. And I got over his leaving the way mothers everywhere do. The happiness in his voice whenever I spoke to him couldn't fail to make me happy too. That's just how it is with a child.
            Daniel learned a lot about himself while he was away. Although it came as no surprise to me, he realized he'd be miserable in a job that kept him indoors. The mere thought of spending a large chunk of his life inside a building made him feel as if he was suffocating. Unfortunately, that epiphany eliminated a large number of employment possibilities.
            After college, he and his cousin George put their heads together and came up with a plan. They worked odd jobs, saving every penny, until they had enough money to buy a used, open-air Jeep. Then they started giving guided tours through the Red Rock country of Sedona. It wasn't long before they added a second Jeep. They now have two brand new ones and a storefront office in Upper Sedona. I'm so happy for him. For me too. He's close enough to make visiting easy. Of course, like all mothers, I wouldn't mind seeing him more often than I do. But that's part of a mother's learning process, and I'm making progress every day.

How bad was your separation anxiety?

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  1. It was horrible! I knew our only child was going to graduate HS, and go to college, I KNEW that was to be....but once we drove him there, unpacked him and drove back home..I was in shock! Cried for days...was sad...felt like a piece of me was removed without permission. Took a long long time to adjust.....and I don't think we ever truly adjust , totally...He has been gone for 3 yrs now..and we have discovered our new freedom! is always in the back of my mind..a piece is missing from the family puzzle....

  2. Luckily, my kids (and theirs) don't live far. I still good vats of food as if there were a household full of hungry people! How nice that Daniel Daniel is living the life he wants to and following his dreams.

  3. I heard this wisdom years ago and it is so true: Having a child means making a commitment to live the rest of your life with your heart outside your body.

  4. Apparently, I was still half-asleep when I typed "good" for "cook" and doubled Daniel's name! Now for coffee ... I was awake enough to enjoy your post though.


    Victoria aka MJ

  5. No children of my own, but I understand the anxiety. When my best friend's daughter moved away, she was upset for quite some time. Since then her daughter has moved back and all is well. I like that Daniel is staying close.

    Thoughts in Progress

  6. What an inspirational story? Even though Kyah accepted her mother's remarks of not disciplining Daniel, he grew up to be a responsible and successful person. Sometimes discipline doesn't work the way one wants it. Here one could see despite how young Daniel was he knew the type of environment his mother was bringing him up, so he succumbed to principles by being lover to animals, by so doing loving his mother as well. Alibis and Amythyst is an interesting and inspirational book recommended for both teenagers and adults.

  7. This is a sweet story, thank you. I have no children, but loosing a pet is hard on everyone.