I just left Shania at Logan; it’s the drop-off point for her Summer Camp. Twenty one days of unadulterated fun in the serene wilderness of of New Hampshire; swimming or sailing on the beautiful lake, hikes, cookouts, camp fires, yoga on the beach – I wish I could go to a camp like this every year!
As I drive away from the airport, my heart bursts in that feeling of pain, anguish, sadness, worry – all crumpled together in a dirty rag – as if, I just cleaned a kitchen.
I remember, leaving Bangladesh to come to the US, every time, even as a forty-something, my mom used to say, আমারজানটাবাইরহয়েগেলো (My soul just went outside).
This separation anxiety is probably no different than that of all other parents.
Did she take her sinus medication? What about a sweatshirt for the evenings, when it gets chilly outside? Flip Flops?
This morning, as she packs her trunk with bedding, and t-shirts, I hear her humming away in her room – simultaneously video chatting with a friend as if, she is right here.
I hear a squeal, here or there, talking about what Charlie Puth did or Ed Sheehan didn’t do! This musical waterfall flowing through the house makes me smile; It’s that music that flows through your arteries and veins.
I ask her, “Honey, do you need any help?”; “No, I got it” is probably what most parents of “almost independent” teenagers hear. In some ways, I feel useless, and in another way, I feel content.
This summer, she has been taking the T to the Prudential Center, to meet up with friends, all by herself. She is thirteen now. She texts and sends me photos of every stop – or the stores she ventures into. I know, in a couple of years, this constant journaling to Dad, will stop. Today, I relish in these little texts.
Seven years ago, when I suddenly became a single parent, she was only six. Her world revolved around me. We did everything together; our intertwined existence was often suffocating and nourishing, at the same time. I wondered often, when will she grow up? Today, she makes dinner decisions for me, even before I am home. On a stressful day, she asks me, Do you need some time to decompress first?
Last weekend, Daiyaan, my twenty-three year old, visits me overnight, before a work training, some 100 miles away from where we live. She arrives late afternoon in Boston, we watch movies and eat comfort food, and the next morning, after breakfast, I drive her this first work trip.
Leaving her behind, at the door of a Sheraton, I have another set of anxiety; will here hotel check-in go ok, will she find her new (Vegan) diet here in this little town? Will she be treated ok by her older co-workers?
I realize that I cannot do everything for them, as I used to, one day. They have wings now. And they are learning to fly.
I just want to be here, whenever they return.
When I left home, many years ago, my mother used to go into this deep frown anxiety from three days prior to my departure; I used to console her by saying, I will be back soon, just a few months….she said, বুঝি , কিন্তু মনটা তো বোঝে না (I understand, still, my heart doesn’t)
Today, my heart is also having a difficult time.