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Mothers give wings

We are at the airport on September 22,1994, saying GoodBye. I have a new leather backpack, a student visa and a letter from my dad to be opened in the air.  I feel ok about flying to Frankfurt but I worry about getting lost in Chicago. I don’t have a cell phone or a credit card, I don’t even know the name of the person who is picking me up in Sacramento. My parents smile nervously.  We take photos. Go to the bathroom, again. Last minute instructions. And then we part.

They stare at the sky for a long time, my parents. My little brother is there too, offering words of comfort: “Don’t be sad, Mom. We’ll see her again… when we get to heaven.”

And he is almost right. This crossroad changes everything. A year of adventure turns into two decades apart. Sometimes its nice to only know the moment.

In the beginning, we write letters, on paper. We talk on the phone, sometimes fast because each second costs. We travel across the atlantic dozens of times. There is time above clouds to ponder the choice, the cost, the wonder. There are weddings and funerals, and new technology that brings us closer. The first grandchildren are born here, abroad. Bilingual babies with passports. Exciting and complicated all at once, inviting us deeper into releasing love.

Love protects and releases. Protective love holds our children close and releasing love lets them go be who they want to be. There is tension between the two and we don’t do this perfectly. A wise mother nurtures and loves open handedly, fully aware release will come. My mother loved open handedly and let me go. Not everyone will understand, and thats ok. Nor will it look the same for every person. Mother is a brave women, all who lean into the vulnerability of offering costly love are. Releasing love releases courage of which I am grateful recipient.

One day my children will leave me. It’s meant that way. Although I am secretly hoping my firstborn will still want to build his house in our yard 🙂 Apparently I did not voice such plans as a child. My little nose was forever stuck in a travel catalogue. Poor Mama. But Mother knew my dreams. So when the time was right, she trusted and released. A bittersweet sacrifice I appreciate in deeper ways since having children of my own.

Johann Wolfgang Goethe said- There are two things that children need: roots and wings.

Roots sound great but flying up and away? Not my loved ones, please. But there is freedom, beauty and strength in releasing love. Healthy boundaries. Mutual respect. Surrendering the illusion of control. Embracing vulnerability. Sharing the growth of separate journeys. Becoming your own unique self fully expressed. Reconnecting in new and refreshing ways.

My mother believes in those things. She is a gutsy, adventurous girl herself. And so she chose to support my dream, at great personal cost. Thats how we got to the airport on September 22.

My mother gave me wings*.

And I learned to fly on that bittersweet day in 1994.


* although both parents enthusiastically supported my choice, my mother gets greater credit in this story because it simply would not have happened without her– she is a risk taker and fearless one of the family- one who does not worry about so and so and what they think about this type of controversial adventure

Happy Risk Takers 20 year Anniversary. I am celebrating by visiting the immigration office tomorrow– Paperwork Party :)!

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2 Replies

  1. Sonny Melton

    WOW…time “Has WINGS” also and does FLY…It does not seem possible but time does Fly when you are having FUN..and you have brought a LOT it into our family…three lovely grandchildren and a FUN..tastic loving wife to our son. Getting to know your mother and father has enriched our lives with new family, country and culture. It has and is a BLESSING.
    I remember the first time we met (25+ years ago) on the garage steps in our Gentry home and we hugged for the first time and God impressed me with the feeling that you will become a permanent member of our family. I guess you call it (“future father-in-law intuition” ) and God answered our prayers. THANKS!! Mom and Dad for sharing your lovely christian daughter with us.

  2. thanks. Happy to be a part of the family 🙂

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