We stood in the airport trying desperately not to cry. It wasn’t working though. Tears escaped as we hugged one more time — the last hug for several months. Then, the shuttle whisked my daughter and her husband away to the jet waiting to fly them far from me. It was one year ago, August 17, 2017.
It’s been a long year.
Having a child live in another country is not what I expected; not part of “the plan”. Although we have lived in different state the previous four years (eight, if you include college), it has been much more challenging. During her college years and four years after, she was accessible — just an hour away by plane or less than ten by car. It was a great comfort to know that I could get to her easily if she needed me. (Or if I thought she needed me.)
Even though we lived in different states, we were able to visit fairly often. I think we saw each other once a month the eight months prior to her departure.
Not so when her current address is a little over 4,000 miles away with the Atlantic Ocean dividing us.
I confess, I was anxious at first. Okay, I was panicky. I didn’t know anything about where she lived, who her friends were or where she went to class. I followed her closely on social media just to get a glimpse of what her life was like.
Last December, about four months into her stay, my husband and I visited our daughter and son-in-law in Edinburgh. It did this mom’s heart good to spend time with them, exploring their part of the world. They showed us around the city — where they lived, their favorite restaurants and coffee shops, the University, where they bought groceries, the post office. It helped so much to know her world. When we talk, I can visualize where she is.
Four months later, a dear friend’s wedding called them home. Hooray for weddings! It was only for a few days but so good to have them back in the nest.
Another four months have passed and now, a year to the date later, we are visiting them again. She turned in her Thesis so we are going to celebrate this milestone by exploring more of Scotland. We’re even taking an extra suitcase with us so they can start sending some of their things HOME.
I feel like such a wimp. Others have sacrificed so much more. I can’t imagine what it must have been like for the mothers of sons serving overseas in WWII or Vietnam — when letters were the only communication. Or mothers with children on the mission field. I’m so thankful for the ability to travel and for modern technology that allows me to communicate with my girl in real time. I can’t imagine sending her off not knowing when I would see her again.
My daughter simply decided to spend a little over a year getting her Master’s Degree at a university in the United Kingdom. Yet, still, for this mom, it’s been the longest year ever!
How about you? Have you had a child live overseas? How did you cope? I would love to hear.