It seems that just a few years ago, my daughter Sara was a senior at the high school and was riding in the convertible marked Junior Citizens of the Year in the Patriot’s Day parade. That was back in 1998.
She is currently in New Zealand, her adopted country since graduating from college, and is expecting her first baby anytime now.
Up until a few months ago, she and her partner, Stephan, were in Islamabad, Pakistan, working with a non-governmental organization (NGO) humanitarian effort. When their pregnancy progressed, Stephan stayed in Pakistan and Sara returned to New Zealand where she has the support of a skilled midwife and the comforts of a sweet home and good friends. She has been nesting, planting sunflowers, and enjoying the balmy summer weather as the baby grows.
Sara is a globetrotter. She is the youngest of my four daughters and seems able to change her locations and vocations with relative ease. First it was New York for college, England for a short time, Wellington, to work at the New Zealand Stock Exchange, and then a law firm, while doing some acting and commercials on the side.
Since I have a need to see and feel the places where my daughters live in order to put my mind at ease, I’ve traveled twice to New Zealand to visit. Truth is that my most complete sense that all is right with the world was when they all lived at home and were tucked safely in their beds at night. Therefore, I’ve had a lot of letting go to do, particularly when it comes to Sara.
A few years ago, she decided that the corporate world wasn’t where she wanted to devote her energies. She let her apartment go, sold or put her possessions in storage, and headed to the Mentawai Islands, Indonesia, to do volunteer work after the tsunami hit. Villages were wiped out, water and food was scarce, and communities were devastated by loss.
I was scared. I would say “for her” but she was enthusiastic about her decision and pushed aside my concerns by pointing out that she could just as well get mugged in New York. Very true but not helpful.
I did research on the Internet, which only filled my head with fears of dreaded diseases and attacks just because she would be an American woman in an Islamic country. When I tried to calm myself down with images of the beautiful surrounding oceans, I landed on the headline: “Indonesian Girl Eaten by Salt-Water Crocodile While Father Watches in Horror.” No informational comfort surfaced to waylay my fears.
While I was anticipating disasters, Sara found an opportunity to work with Mercy Corp as a field reporter and also was hired by the United Nations as master of ceremonies for a conference to assess the effectiveness of the relief efforts in progress in the area.
That is where she met Stephan. He is from Germany and has been working in the crisis relief field for over 11 years. I feel relieved that she has found her compatible and competent partner. Apparently, scaring her mother is a small price to pay for finding true love.
Next, they signed up for Islamabad, Pakistan. I knew enough to stay away from Internet information overload but became hyper-vigilant anytime the word Pakistan was mentioned on the news. While I worried, Sara got hired to do a commercial for U.S. AID.
This is where my romance with Skype comes in. I am grateful because I can see her smile, peek into her surroundings, and have a face-to-face conversation.
I get to see her tummy grow, her face glow and almost feel as if I am there. It’s a big almost because I can’t wrap my arms around her. As I say this, I feel the loss but still am thankful for Skype. Now will someone invent time travel? Maybe I’ll check the Internet.