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My Global Girls 

By Susan McNeal Velasquez

By Susan McNeal Velasquez

The International Terminal at LAX was crowded with those of us waiting for the next wave of arriving passengers.

I kept my eyes glued on the sloping walkway as the top-heavy carts of passengers, freed from customs, made their way up the ramp. My youngest daughter, Sara, and my almost 2-year-old granddaughter, Aroha, finally rounded the bend and made their way to me.

Their trip started from Berlin, on to Zurich and then to Los Angeles. They will be with me until Feb. 17. Stephan didn’t come since he is heading to the Philippines to start a new project and get acclimated before his family joins him.

My excitement about being more than “Grandma on the computer screen” had been building towards this day and it was finally here.

Aroha saw me and reached her arms out to come to me. Thrilling. Our connection was instantly expanding from seeing and hearing to being able to touch each other. My heart, my arms, my hands, my lips on her cheeks, and my nose that inhaled the smell of her, finally relaxed into the perfection of this moment.

Sara hasn’t been home for an extended visit since she went away to college. She is 34 now and has lived in New York, England, Scotland, New Zealand, Indonesia, Pakistan, Germany and next she will absorb the culture of the Philippines while continuing to write funding grants for humanitarian efforts across the globe.

Aroha was born in New Zealand and before her second birthday will have flown 40 times since her birth. Her father speaks German and English, Sara speaks English and Spanish, and Aroha currently speaks with a lyrical lilt to her highly diverse interpretation of the many sounds she has ingested, with the German “nein” being particularly useful.

It is an amazing experience to see my daughters, all four of them, as beautifully competent, kind and knowledgeable mothers. Sara had a mid-wife, a doctor and more solid information about birthing and mothering than I even knew existed.

Luckily, I have long since given up on imparting any motherly advice about how to care for a baby since I found out quickly that I should be counting my lucky stars that my children even survived with the antiquated techniques that I used.

“Give them a water bottle.” No. “Honey?” Double no. “Turn them over on their stomach.” Nope. Motherhood is now a science as well as an art and big business. Aroha’s stroller is as well built as a top of the line Mercedes and almost as heavy.

The first Thursday after they arrived, we were invited to attend the American Legion dinner at the Legion Hall honoring the police and fire departments and their contributions to our city.

Sara was asked to share briefly some of her travels since she had received the honor of being sponsored by the Legion Auxiliary to attend Girl’s State and also was Junior Citizen of the Year in 1998.

She was so pleased to have the opportunity to express her appreciation of the support that she has had in her life from so many special people and organizations in Laguna Beach.

For me, this visit has given me the opportunity to revel in the joy of living in a town where when I walk downtown on a sunny January day I greet friends who are shopkeepers, local employees and members of local organizations, and bathe in the camaraderie built over the years of being a part of such a spectacular town.

 

The author, a resident since 1986, is the author of “Beyond Intellect: Journey Into the Wisdom of Your Intuitive Mind.” Learn more at: beyondintellect.com.

 

 

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