The famous quote “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” never resonated with me until the time my daughter left the country for six months. Suddenly, the reality of my duties as her mom shifted. No longer was I the rescuer of my princess in distress. No longer could I pull a “mama bear” and rise to an occasion when the universe was dealing her a tough hand.
My new role was to hold on loosely. People asked if it was difficult to be so far away from her. After all, we had a tight bond that often resembled sisterhood or best friends by the time her departure occurred.
All of the years of preparation for independence had come to fruition. I knew from the beginning when I was holding this bundle of sweetness that my role in her life was merely to prepare her for greater things. Her heart was too wild and free to be content in a small world existence.
Once she was gone, the house was too empty to stay alone. Upon her declaration that our town was never going to be home again, it seemed natural that I find my own way into the big world. I announced to her on Skype that when she returned to the country our house would not be there to greet her. She seemed equally excited for my new adventure.
Years have passed since and she continues to string my heart across the miles. Now our daily conversations occur from any assortment of towns, airports, jogging paths, or coffee shops.
While to others the miles may appear to be a large canyon between us, we don’t feel the vastness of the distance. We see the tendrils of our heartstrings intertwined across space. We feel the buzz of joy in each other’s voices when we share our day’s successes. We feel the sync of our heartbeats when we seek an uplifting word of compassion from one another.
Today, she leaves after a brief visit orchestrated halfway between our homes. This place is full of echoes of our laughter. The walls are still sighing from the peaceful hours we were together doing much of nothing, sometimes simply napping in the same room.
I smile because in less than a week she leaves the country again. She has the call of the wild beautiful world in her soul. She will jet across the globe on a solo adventure she has planned for only her own hungry spirit in a country far away.
I smile because I know this is how she feels most happy, amongst the strangers of another country where she roams cobble stone streets and soaks in all the smells and sights it has to offer.
I smile because I remember the day she returned to me. I saw it in her eyes. She will always yearn for the lack of walls, the absence of sameness, the delight of adventure. She has evolved to this beautiful creature that will roam the crevices of the globe as long as she is breathing.
I smile because I wouldn’t have it any other way.
“If you love someone, you must be prepared to set them free.” ~Paulo Coelho
Feature image located at etsystatic.com, photography provided by Ashley Davis