Changes

My friend Anita emailed me recently from the airport in Los Angeles.  She and her husband were waiting for their flight to Australia, where Anita is starting a new position.  

Also on the e-mailing list were Anita’s far-flung children, all in their twenties.  One daughter is traveling in Asia after completing graduate school, another daughter is starting a new job in Florida.  Her son is working on his doctorate in Connecticut.  Her family is accustomed to staying in contact long-distance, and part of the email was to discuss new telephone arrangements.

Someone in the family is always traveling in a distant land.  Family members have studied in Africa, Europe, Central America and more. 

Anita is in her second career, which began in Honduras in 2005.   Honduras now seems so close to “home,” which is upstate New York, she says.  Australia is so far away.  But she’s really looking forward to her new posting there.

When Anita moved to Honduras, I moved to a new neighborhood in my same city the same year.  She moved thousands of miles to a new country with a new career and a new language.  I moved five miles and didn’t even change grocery stores.  I joked about how I fussed over the adjustments I had to make, but they were puny compared with hers.

The hardest part is being so far from family and friends, she says.  There are no cheap, short flights.  I remembered how hard it was on me when my daughter was at college 1,500 miles away, and I didn’t like that my son’s university was a three and a half-hour drive away.

 She wrote to her children: “We hope to see you all as soon as possible.  We love you all dearly and will miss you, but you all have it together, and we know you’re all in great hands — your own.”

It’s a good lesson to all of us.

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3 Comments

Filed under Communication, Family, Friendship, Life, Personal, Random, Travel

3 responses to “Changes

  1. I am comforted by this story. My daughter’s going to college one whole hour away and now it seems like no big deal. Thanks, Cathy! My high school friends say I’m the one who got to move away…6 miles away that is.

  2. It’s strange – long distance families. I’m not sure how I feel about it. Being a globe-trotting child, as I was, makes you very independent – but is that always good?
    My sons were brought up closely on my farm – the antithesis to me. Now I have one in New Zealand, one in France, one in London and also one at home. I feel that both my rootlessness and the ‘longing to belong’ has transferred itself into them.
    Food for thought Cathy.

  3. Catherine Sherman

    Paula, whenever my daughter says “California,” I stammer out “earthquakes, fires, high cost of living, unimaginable traffic….” (Jan, don’t read this. I don’t mean your town.) but the truth is my objections are not just about the danger, but that I want her here. Still, I’m afraid of clipping her wings. We’ve taken her around the world, so I should expect she’d develop a taste for it. I hope you get to see your sons regularly. New Zealand. Wow.

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