30 June 2019
When the sky is tangerine in your Edmonton garden and your daughter’s cityscape from Kuala Lumpur is clear, you know you have arrived in the present.
When your now adult child wings her way across an ocean, lands in Shanghai and then takes off again for a more distant destination, the concept of helicopter parenting becomes far fetched.
I download WhatsApp. And hope for the best.
She lands. And we chat. Then she is off.
And I struggle to think about my own months of early travels across continents. Celebrating 21 in Bamako or was it on a ship en route to Marseille? My letters home from Africa and Europe went unanswered. I never knew why. Was it just that the trip seemed so far away? The timeline of letters too remote?
Today the mother in me asks myself why I would or how I could ever feign disengagement from such a journey?
Last night my daughter and I communicate through time zones, launching ourselves boomerang-like between tomorrow and today. Fourteen long hours trip between here and there as we traverse several continents in an instant.
My friend Constance tries to calm my nerves: “a Buddhist women told us years ago in Japan, in answer to a mother’s worry about her young son, that a mother’s love should be like silk thread from a silk worm, so soft it can’t be felt but so strong it can’t be broken.”
Tant pis. I am a silk worm’s dead giveaway- a maternal felt sense communicated in thumb-printed pre-dawn apprehensive chat. If I could miniaturize my anxious self into the size of a bit in the WhatsApp universe and transport my invisible body to the Malaysian airport where she awaits her ride to her new home for six weeks, I would. But that would be helicoptering by remote control – and only a guilty mother would admit to such dreams.
(photos by you know who en route)