And now the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Drumroll please, Willy. I’m leaving this week for Thailand. And thus, we are thick in the midst of arranging the multitude of details that go with traveling to a country with a foreign language and customs. Where will we meet in the airport? “I’ll text you, I text.’ ‘No, Mom, how many times have I told you the phones don’t just work everywhere. We have to pick a spot, the airport’s HUGE. Third exit on the second floor. Now write that down, hear?” I not only write it down but I make three copies of my passport-one for her, one for me and one for her father. Copies of my credit cards. Copies of all my hotel confirmations and airplane travel and touring excursions. “ Here is your hotel confirmation Mom. Now print this out just in case.”
Then comes packing. Packing. “Mom, just bring one bathing suit, two pairs of pants or capris, two skirts (below the knee), 3-4 comfortable shirts, flip flops, sneakers and a pair of closed toe shoes.” It seems you can’t get into the temples if your skin is exposed. Boy you better believe I’m not flying across the Pacific Ocean to get denied entrance to a temple for improper exposure. Thanks sweetie.
And on and on this week has gone. Setting up an outgoing automatic message for my patients so they know I won’t read their emails until December 19 took two days all by itself. iCloud is so complicated the old system didn’t work. Googling was not helpful and the first time I checked it after finally setting it up, I got 53 auto responses saying don’t call me if this is an emergency. Yikes, I thought what kind of message is that to my patients? 53 auto responses when you try to email your psychiatrist. Please forgive me this double obsession I have with travel and my daughter. Forbearance required to be a patient of Dr. Burns.
Isn’t it almost impossible to imagine that it’s been 7 months since I wrote that blog about church marquees, “God guides, God provides?” But He does doesn’t She? Surely, as I walk and have my being God has provided for me in the absence of my daughter. “Hey, Mom, how come you and Dad stopped emailing? Have you forgotten about your only daughter?” Who could imagine I would ever be able to go days without thinking of the loss, the absence? Life fills in when voids are created. Slowly and silently without a big to do but surely still, we both gained confidence. Me in being without her. She in growing independent, without relying on me. Even better, God has provided for her. She has lovely friends that she will continue to live with next semester. She just finished and defended her Capstone on converting algae to biodiesel fuel in Thailand. She is off for another week of travel with her friends and returns to meet me at the airport on Monday.
That is going to be a hug that last forever, don’t you know? I almost can’t envision that moment fully. The exact second when I will be wandering around that HUGE airport, scanning for the tall brown haired beauty that towers over the other travelers and we see each other and our eyes hold on, overflowing in gratitude and disbelief. I almost can’t envision the beauty of that singular second. Sort of like the second of disbelief that was created when she was stuck in my womb for three days of birthing and then appeared between my legs so suddenly it was as if she belonged there forever. That second. Mothers know that second. They live and play those moments over and over and yet when they experience them one more time, whether it’s on the playing fields at the school or washing dishes in the kitchen or running through the Bangkok airport with their backpack after 26 rumpled hours of flying to meet their new daughter, they always recognize them for what they are. Priceless moments of love and connection between parent and child. Breathing in and holding onto the essence of this merging, this form of being together again after a long separation.