Call me hard-hearted, unromantic, detached, breezy, whatever, but I have never been able to say the words “I miss you” and really mean it from the bottom of my heart. No, it hasn’t changed even after motherhood, which is essentially supposed to be a hormonal fix that renders you into a permanent state of mellow and mush. No such luck.
I am a fairly involved parent, but when the child is out of sight, it is usually out of mind, and my mind is usually yearning to get on to other things. I am quite unashamed to say that I love being alone and I can always find enough things to do by myself (and do). Aloneness is however a luxury when you are practically a single parent and I don’t want to spoil it all by saying something like, “I miss you.” It just seems counter-productive. For me as well as the child.
Re occasionally gets into fits of not going to school (even now), and as I drop him and we exchange our mandatory five hugs and kisses, he sometimes holds on to my sari or whatever I’m wearing and says, “Don’t go. I’ll miss you.”
These words make me feel like I’m back to the drawing board. I try to explain to him that people need to go away so they can come back, and although it seems too adult a concept, he is slowly getting it. Or at least I hope so. But I have seen enough parents who feel empowered every time their child tells them this, or their partner or someone they think they have a hold over.
Re’s a sentimental Cancerian, unlike the breezy Gemini that is me. I know I am getting into Linda Goodman sun-signey zone, but there is something to be said about when we are born and the things we say.
Unlike most people who can say the fateful three words with a great degree of nonchalance (I am sure some of them mean it too) to their loved ones when they are away from them, I can’t. I think the whole purpose of being away is lost when you are constantly missing someone. It just means you never left. Am I making sense?
“I miss you” does not make me feel more loved. If anything, it makes me feel chained, bound, un-free. It makes me bound to miss the missee (person who misses=missee?) back, and when I don’t, I feel a bit weird (although not always)
I don’t miss people. Or places. I remember all the times I have been away, and there have been plenty of those, and the calls back home (whether to the mother or the husband) have always been more of an obligation than a need. I am in the here and now, so flashbacks seem like a waste of time. May be my homeopath was right. May be I do have too much testosterone. Or may be that I am truly in the moment.
I am too socially awkward to say, “I miss you too”, so I just smile and wish the moment would pass really quickly. Thankfully, my non-PDA family never says the fateful three words. They demonstrate love and caring by doing things for each other. I guess that works perfectly for me.
To miss people means to love them, to be partial to them, to be incomplete without them, it’s like you are missing the other part of what makes you whole.
Saying “I miss you” or something similar to that effect is also one of the easiest ways to mess with somebody’s head. It’s like you want to keep a foothold in their life without staking yourself to something you might be called on later to deliver on. It’s vague and it’s an expression of sadness and regret, but it’s not really saying anything. It’s like when someone says “sorry” without really knowing what they’re sorry about or having no real regret.
May be I need to find new words to explain this to Re. May be I need to tell him that when I’m not with him, I’m with me. And that me is important. May be I need to tell him that I love him enough to not miss him. May be he will get it. Someday.
(This post first appeared as my column in Pune Mirror on 22nd December, 2014)