A piece of my heart is approximately 8 000 miles away.
I am combining yesterday’s prompt, “connection”, with today’s prompt, “heart | head.”
There is a disconnect between my heart and my head.
For the past week, as we made preparations for her departure, my head shoved my heart aside and took control.
“Do you have your passport and letter of consent to travel alone? Remember to always keep it in your pouch during the travel portion.”
“Do you have the address and number for the Canadian Embassy?”
“Are your shoes comfortable?”
“Is your carry-on too heavy? I don’t want your back hurting.”
“Don’t eat food that has been sitting out too long.”
“Always drink bottled water.”
“Go to the bathroom in the first half of your fifteen-hour flight.”
“Do you have your malaria pills? Did you set the alert on your phone to take them?”
“Wear sunscreen. And a hat. And sunglasses. And long sleeves at night. The day and night mosquitoes are different.”
Lordy, I could not shut up.
As she patiently nodded her head and politely said, “Yes, Mom” to all my inquiries and reminders, my heart smothered my head with a pillow and told me to be quiet.
Her brothers and sisters prepared love notes for her to find in her suitcase (along with some favourite candies):
They bought her a teddy bear and made a heart filled with more love notes for the plane ride:
My heart told me to savour every moment with her the day before she left. My heart told me to stroke her hair. My heart said to sit beside her and take her hand into mine. My heart listened as she spoke of her excitement and her expectations. My heart made me appreciate what I would soon be missing.
As I prepared to write a letter for her to read while she was gone, my heart and my head were at an impasse. My heart wanted to list all the things I love about her and my head wanted to list all the potential things she may forget. I think I was able to balance both…
My head and all its incessant nattering emerged once more on the way to the airport. I talked about my own trips abroad. I talked about types of suitcases. I even talked about my toilet troubles on foreign soil. I could see her eyes rolling even though she sat behind me in the car. Then I asked all the questions again as I followed her out of the car and into the airport – “Do you have your passport?…”
It’s a strange feeling to know that we are entering a new phase of parenthood. You find yourself going over everything you’ve ever said and ever done asking yourself: “Did we do a good job?” “Will she be okay without us?” “How will I know if we’ve done enough?”
Then my heart silenced the head once more and said, “Take a look.” And I did.
She grew up. This was the beginning. I would see this image more and more in the months and years to come. I knew she would catch the “travel bug” after this trip. I remember that feeling: The world is your oyster. I wanted to yell, “Stop! You’re not ready!” But my heart got caught in my throat and told me, “Let her go even if you’re not ready.”
At the airport, we spend some time hanging out, taking silly pictures and joking around, doing what we always do. But now it’s time to head to the departure gate for the goodbyes. My head gives her one final reminder, “Make good choices!” This is our little inside joke, a quote from one of her favourite movies. But my heart has the honours of saying the final goodbye. No words – just holding. Holding her tight. Holding her while my heart is saying a million things that I’ve tried to tell her – how much I love her, how her existence changed the course of my life, how grateful I am for our relationship, how there is this invisible thread of life and love that will keep us connected forever.
My head and heart both tell me, “Let go first. She’ll be fine. You’ll be fine.”
For the first time, I let go first.
I let go so she would know I believed she was ready.
I let go because it felt like it was time.
I let go so she could leave knowing that I was okay and happy for her.
I let go because I can’t hold on forever.
Trying to survive the February blues by getting my write on with writealm:
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