Thursday, November 20, 2014

When They're Far Away

Several years ago, when Mom was still alive, I asked her about something I’d always wanted to know. How hard was it for her to leave Minnesota? Back in 1956 things were tough out there on the prairie. We didn’t live in Lake Woebegon where all things seemed to work out at the end of Garrison Keillor's stories. No, we lived in a very small town where there was always lots of snow in the winter and mosquitoes in the summer, and not much money in the teapot on the counter. But it was home.

And then we left.

Dad packed up his whole family and took us out west to California. As a kid it was very exciting (and only scary when I had to start school). But I never thought about how it affected Mom until I was an adult and left California to live in New York.

“It was the hardest thing,” she said. “I cried a lot.” She told  me she even gave a big hug to one of her relatives whom she didn’t like. I have no idea who it was, but she was in such a state at the time that she did it anyway. I felt her gut wrench.

History repeated itself when one of our three sons left New York and moved to Washington State. It never gets easier no matter who is leaving, but I held it together as I waved goodbye to my first grandchild, only two, as they stepped into the airport fifteen years ago and flew away. That gut wrench again.

But think about how blessed we are.

No one likes to be separated from the ones they love best. But I’m so grateful that I can write, call, email or Skype these days. We can almost over-communicate. A few summers ago I even did some Skype babysitting for our (now) two granddaughters on the west coast. I sat in front of the computer while the oldest made grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. We were experimenting and it was great fun. Another time I challenged her little sister to draw as many kinds of hats as she could. I jabbered and she drew. She sent them to me afterwards and now I have a new piece of refrigerator art.

All this is to say – if you have loved ones or maybe someone you’re trying to love better or even someone you’ve had a fight with – take advantage of all there is out there and stay in touch. 

Your life will only be better for it.

Image: Free Digital Photos


  1. Jennifer Brown BanksNovember 20, 2014 at 8:50 AM

    How true. How sweet! But I still prefer in-person better. :-) Thanks for this important reminder, Sue. :-)