It usually starts in my ears when I hear someone say something to the effect of "My Mum is going to take the kids" or "My mum was here for the weekend" or "I am going out to lunch with my mum".
It crawls from my ears to the back of my eyes, stinging just a bit and it slides down to rest for a moment at the back of my throat, wrapping itself into a lump.
Sometimes it likes to sit there. Making it hard to talk. But it and I know each other too well, so usually after lingering for a minute, it begins its slow steady descent down to my stomach where it will sit, darkly in a corner, to be almost forgotton about until its joined by another.
It doesn't really have a name...but its made up of jealousy, regret, longing and love in equal parts.
When I made the choice to move away from the US, I didn't know what I was giving up. THere is no way I could have. I didn't have children. I was young. I was running away from a lot of things and didn't even know how to look back at everything else that remained. And of course I was running to the love of my life who outshone every other detail.
Well over ten years on, I have a much better understanding of the scope of that loss.
I want to be clear in my own mind and in any one's that reads this, I am not longing for a mother who will come and babysit. Someone to run my errands or help clean my house. That is not who my mother is and is not who I want her to be. She is a brave, fierce, successful, busy woman who helped raise many of her brothers and sisters before herself becoming a mother as a teenager.
But, it is the intimacy I miss. Phone calls are pale shadows of face to face conversations. Ellis thinks she lives in Balamory and takes a boat to work (when she is not flying in an airplane back and forth to America).