Effect of Supermoon Beams

By Erika Hoffman

The Supermoon lit up the window of our bedroom. I woke with a start. The kids are gone. I bolted upright in bed, eyes wide open. My snoring husband stopped his rhythmic inhalation mid-snort and rolled over.

“You say something?” he muttered.

“No,” I stated. I punched my pillow repeatedly and balled it up. I flipped over onto my stomach burying my face in the featherless, skinny remnants of the rumpled cushion.

“What’s the matter,” he grumbled, sounding vexed.

“The kids are gone,” I blurted out.

He sat up, rubbed his eyes, and yawned. With the light of the Supermoon, I could see his face turned toward me. He stared at me like I had two heads. “What?”

“The kids are gone,” I repeated sadly.

“Yeah, they are.”

“Gone for good. Today I walked into each of their rooms to straighten up their stuff, and it hit me: They’re never coming back to live here again – ever.”

“Probably not,” he stated, weaving his fingers into each other and resting them on his lap as he sat waiting for me to resume sleep.

“It makes me gloomy.” I turned my face away from him. He snuggled back under the covers.

Early that morning I sent an e-mail to our only daughter, the youngest of our four children. I asked her if she wanted us to haul furniture up to her apartment in NYC this spring; I inquired if she were coming home this summer; I pondered when we’d see her again and reminded her how she’d stayed with us only four days at Christmas since her departure last August. I waited at my computer for her response.

“I’ll see you in September,” she texted back later. September is over six months away.

I studied her few words, thinking of that hit song back in the 70s while I was in college and anxious for summer to end so I could escape my parents’ house in Jersey and return to school and friends and fun in North Carolina. I wondered now if my mom had missed me when I flew out the door with hardly a glance back. I thought how I never really considered that – then.

The same day of the e-mail, I carried my 91 year old dad, who now lives with us, to get a haircut. While he was thus engaged, I ran across the street to the travel agency my pal owns to jawbone with her. Marge wasn’t in, but her friend and fellow travel agent was. Making conversation, she asked me how my daughter was doing.

I replied, “We seldom talk.”

Her eyes widened.

“She’s too busy,” I added. “And, she ‘defriended’ me.”

“You’ve been up to see her, though?”


“But she came home here for spring break?”

“She went to Cancun,” I admitted.

“You’ll visit her this summer?”

“She’s planning on travelling to Europe.”

“When will you see her?”


“September!” This gal sprang from her seat and leaned over her desk, stunned. “You should tell her to get her lazy a** down here one weekend! Tell her to be here on Mother’s Day!”

I shook my head. “Exam time.”

“You pay the bills! Insist she come see you!”

Suddenly, I had a Supermom awakening! As this concerned lady vehemently emphasized I should make my daughter feel guilty about her disinterest in visiting us, I became less passive.

Huffed up and indignant, this friend of a friend exclaimed, “Well, I wouldn’t put up with that, I’d…”

I cut her off. “I’m extremely proud of my daughter. She’s accomplished what few folks can, let alone girls. She’s 23, not in Junior High! She’s in dental school. I can’t force her to be homesick. What’s the point of that?”

This lady expressed her disapproval at my daughter’s lack of consideration, but I got to thinking that this lady had never left her hometown all these decades. Yet, I had left my home state eons ago when I was eighteen.

“I was the same way, independent,” I explained. I remembered that song by Jim Croce, “Cat’s in the Cradle.” I always thought the lyrics depressing. But maybe they’re not: the kid turned out just like his old man – busy, maybe too busy, but the kid had his life to lead, and his old dad realized that. He’d turned out just like him. When I consider things, I’d rather my kids live 1,000 miles away from me, leading productive, achievement-oriented, altruistic lives, than their sleeping down the hall from me and being jobless, friendless and goal-less. In a way it’s ironic that a parent’s job is to enable her children to grow strong enough, smart enough and stable enough to spread wings and fly away, and yet when they launch successfully in their new orbits, mama peers around the empty nest and misses her chirping, hungry brood. Terribly.

I discerned my responses to my friend’s friend bewildered her. Most likely she thought my parent-child relationship strained and estranged. Yet, the conversation with this lady helped me crystallize how I felt about the distance between me and my mini-me. The French phrase C’est la vie rattled through my mind. It’s okay, I thought to myself when I closed the door to the travel agency on my way to pick up my dad from the barber’s.

“How was your time at the clip joint?” I asked my stooped old man, as he limped to the car in the handicap spot.

“Very pleasant, as always,” he replied, while he basked in the attention I gave him. I understood his happiness. His kid was caring for him in her nest, now. That’s the way life goes. Give your kids their lives and their independence when they are young adults, and they will be grateful and prove it to you later. I was c’est la vie, indeed.

About this writer

  • Erika Hoffman Erika Hoffman views most travel experiences as educational experiences and sometimes the lessons learned are revelations about oneself.

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