This long-distance relationship with family is a bit odd. I faithfully call my mom once a week and we talk, but you only get to hear the major stuff, like hip surgeries, births, divorces and death. And the weather of course. The threads of everyday life are unspoken and they sit quietly in the corner. It’s not that they are hiding them from us, it’s more that they are ordinary, not worth mentioning, simply forgotten. Yet it is truly in the ordinary, get-up-to-go-to-work everyday life that we become who we are, that we change into who we have become. I miss all of that living across the pond.
When we first arrive overseas, it feels like there is no way we can fit in. Strangers with the same blood; same memories, but lives so far apart. And it hurts a bit–will I be able to reach my mom’s heart?
The first few hours with her are odd; we catch up on some more “major stuff” that she forgot to tell us, and there are some silences, a bit uncomfortable. But then we eat together, and we do dishes, and say good-night. And we wake up and have coffee, leisurely. I begin to move to the rhythm of her life. I enter into her routine, watching her favorite TV show with her. By day two, I know what to put on the table at night for her–yogurt and fruit. I remember where the pots and pans’ home is. I ask questions and listen. I laugh. I sense the threads of her everyday life, and I revel in them. She senses that I truly care. And I find her again.
We sat up late on our last night together, and I let her tell me once again all the stories of her childhood. I loved every minute of it. As I lay my head on the pillow that night, I know that she knows that we found each other again. And that makes me glad.
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