My eyes flutter open as the morning sun awakens me. I say a silent prayer of thanks for a good night’s sleep and ask God to bless my day. I stretch and swing my legs over to the floor. Then I pick up my iPhone and check Instagram.
A Habit Forms
That was pretty much my daily routine for the one year, three months and twenty days my daughter and her husband lived in Scotland.
They were five hours ahead of us so when I was waking up, they were well into their day. I would check both of their Instagram accounts to see what interesting things they were doing. Was it a walk through the Princes Street Gardens or along the cobblestones of Old Town? Were they having coffee in that cute restaurant across the street? Was she walking to class accompanied by the faint sounds of the bagpipe? Had they enjoyed a night out with friends? Were they visiting a different European country?
As I think more about this habit of mine, I’ve come to the conclusion I was living vicariously through my daughter. After all, Edinburgh is slightly more exciting than Polk County, Florida.
I remember one of the earliest text messages I got from her after they arrived in Edinburgh. “Hi Mom, just wanted to let you know, Tim and I are taking the train to London for the weekend.” Not the normal text message from my girl.
My husband and I visited Scotland twice while they were there. The first time was in December, about 4 months after they arrived. I loved seeing the places where they did life; their little flat with a view of the castle, their favorite pub across the street, the grocery store where they shopped, the university and their favorite parts of town. It helped me visualize their daily life. I could match real places to the images I saw on Instagram.
I got to know her friends too. Not personally, mind you, but through her pictures and stories on Instagram. I watched from a distance as close friendships formed. She will carry those friendships for a very long time.
My daughter graduated with her Masters Degree in November and returned to the states in December. While I was so happy and excited for her to be coming home, I was also a little sad. It was such an amazing time for her from the places she visited to the people she met. Experiences to last a lifetime. But, it came to an end.
Time To Break A Habit
The end to her time in Scotland also meant the end to my virtual tour of Scotland, the United Kingdom and other locales in Europe. No more imagining having tea with her in a quaint little coffee shop or walking down the cobblestone streets of Edinburgh. No more popping into the market or museum. Sigh.
I find myself slowly letting go of the habit of checking Instagram every morning. She’s back on the same continent and in the same country but in an earlier time zone. I really don’t need to start my day by checking Instagram.
On a recent visit to Birmingham, I commented that she must be accustomed to the rainy day we had since she just spent a little over a year living in Scotland. Her reply was “Yes, but a rainy day walking around centuries-old architecture and along cobblestone streets makes it a little more bearable”. She’s got a point there.
Are there any habits you need to release?