This morning, in an email to my sister, I wrote the following sentence: “I haven’t talked to mom all week, so for all I know they’ve left the country again.”
Her response: “Yup, they’ve left the country again. Good guess.”
There is just something very weird about writing a sentence like that, primarily in jest, and finding out it’s true. And what’s even more weird is realizing that the response no longer surprises you.
To put it into context – for the first 37 years of my life, I KNEW where to find my mom. Her life was lived within a fairly predictable and dependable space. She was at home, on the farm. If she wasn’t there, then she could be found at the store she worked at for many years. If all else fails – check the neighbour’s house. Or the church. Once in awhile, she’d venture to the city, but then she was visiting either myself or my sister, so we knew where to find her. About once a year, she’d fly out to visit my brother, or spend a few days at my other brother’s house. That was about it. Not particularly exciting, but always dependable.
Then, for the next two and a half years, after dad died, she lived in the city, and though the walls of her life were a little less confined, she NEVER left town without telling me.
Now, suddenly, her life has been transformed and I no longer know where to find her. She’s home less than she’s away. She’s been married less than two years, and in that time, they’ve spent two months in Holland, travelled to Alberta more times than I can count, and hopped across the border into the U.S. probably more times than she’s done in her whole life before this.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m happy for her. She loves to travel and didn’t get nearly enough of it in her life before this. She’s got a new lease on life, and I certainly don’t begrudge her that. She has spent so many years being “dependable”, she has earned the right to be “footloose and fancy free.”
But – it can feel a little disconcerting to never know for sure where your mom is and when you can reach her. Moms are meant to be dependable. Reliable. Unchanging. Somehow, in a way I can hardly explain, it makes the roots of my tree feel a little shaky.
Besides that… does she have to make up for ALL that lost time in just a couple of YEARS? Sheesh.