Future Travel

ib112 Yesterday I put the Princess on a plane. She’s part of a German-American exchange–remember Frau L? Now it’s the Princess’s turn to visit a strange land. (So far this morning she says, “Seen a KFC. Distinct lack of pickup trucks. Also, no turn signals.”)

It’s amazing that we can communicate virtually instantaneously over such distances. “We live in the FUTURE,” we keep saying to each other. I was able to track her flights in realtime, waking up every hour or so and reaching for a tiny computer on my nightstand that also holds my calendar, contacts, photos, email, games, social media…and a flashlight! Not to mention Neko Atsume.

Sometimes I forget just how amazing this all is, and how lucky I am to be born in a time and place and socioeconomic bracket where I can utilize such things. The internet isn’t ubiquitous, as I often say, it just feels like it when you’re surfing.

So my girl is half a world away, in the care of very nice people, and once she gets some sleep she’ll have the time of her life. It will be the longest and furthest we’ve ever been separated. I miss her, the Little Prince misses her; the Mad Tortie is dimly aware that one of her usual complement of slaves is AWOL and has begun to voice tiny complaints in between demanding skritches from the remaining ones.

She packed for a week before she left. Ferociously organized, that girl. Not sure where she learned that, since I function best in a sort of regulated chaos. (You should see my office.) Both her carryons were well below the weight limit since she’d planning to bring back a dirndl, and I keep thinking, wait, did I remind her to take that? I should have told her to do this. Or I should have arranged the other.

Learning to let go is also a part of motherhood. You wake up one day and realize that if something happened to you, the tiny squalling bundles you’ve been worrying over 24/7 for almost twenty years could make it just fine in the world. It’s…sobering. Terrifying. If you’ve done your job, they can survive without you. Which rudely whacks at a pillar of one’s identity, with a baseball bat, no less.

So while she’s learning all sorts of young-adult things about travel and the big old world, I’m learning to pry my worry loose and let it go. That’s another thing about kids–they never stop teaching you how to be a better person.

So if you want me, I’ll be rocking back and forth in the corner, checking my phone obsessively in case she sends me photos. Faking handling this gracefully is going to be my new norm for a few weeks.

Over and out.