I’m not convinced there is any more powerless feeling than to know your child is on another continent in a world where anything can happen. While there is excitement for her accumulation of new experiences, it can be crowded out swiftly with with the fearful realization that if something goes wrong over that distance, there is nothing she can do to get to her child quickly.
Releasing a child into the world isn’t merely metaphorical. It is a physical thing, a tearing, a thrusting away, and it doesn’t involve a mother’s choice, which may be why it hurts so much at times. Children choose to leave and careen off on adventures. They laugh in the face of potential dangers and disaster, and roll their eyes in the face of warnings. They believe that soaking up experiences outside of a mother’s watchful purview is their birthright. They are immortal, impervious to danger.
Who consulted me and asked if I was ready to let go? A mother’s deepest instinct, to protect and care for her children, must of necessity go through a metamorphosis as her children grow up and out. The blessings of today’s technology, however—digital photos, cell phones and Skype—soften the separation and distance. These were my lifeline when Lindsey was in London this last summer. They reminded me that my daughter may no longer share my world, but occasionally she allows me to share hers. And that is a blessing I always count twice.