It’s my mother’s birthday today and I am over 4,000 miles away in the Southwest of England, sitting in the bedroom that is mine and my husband’s and wishing that for one day I had the ability to teletransport to Florida to be with my mother on this new milestone in her life. I don’t think I ever fully understood or grasped the difficulty of my own parents’ expatriation from their own country and their family ties and connections until I was finally granted my spouse visa and residence permit to reside here in the UK. I have been here a little over 6 months now and the hardest part for me is not having my parents or siblings nearby to just see, talk to or spend time with. I am fortunate enough to have some family here, mainly all of my husband’s immediate family and many relatives nearby. My own mother and father only had each other when they moved from Venezuela over 35 years ago to the US and though many friends helped them out and became like family, their own parents and siblings were all mostly still so far away.
I think I can now comprehend how my parents felt, in particular my mom, when they could not be with their own family and loved ones on birthdays and such. It’s one of the consequences of choosing to live abroad, elsewhere away from home–bittersweet really. Still, I am grateful that technology has come so far in the recent decades that we can now spend time with our loved ones virtually in real time even if we are not physically there. It is even a blessing that my parents at least got to do the same with both of my grandmothers before they passed away. The joy on my little old ladies’ faces when they saw their children and, even their grandchildren and great-grandchildren on some occasions, is enough to warm your heart at the thought that in the best sense technology has brought us all closer together when before you had to wait weeks to find out how a person had spent their birthday when the telephone hadn’t yet been invented. We have come a long way and our sense of belonging to our little familiar tribes has had a great aid in these technological advances.
Still, it is hard not to be physically present, to be able to hug my mom on her birthday or to bake her a cake and watch her blow out the candles. I guess I understand a little better these days the saying “you can’t have your cake and eat it too”. We worked so hard to get me over here to the UK, it was my all-consuming thought last year to now feel sad that I can’t be in the US with my family whenever I want. That is the give and take aspect of life, isn’t it? I am sure that many of my readers will be able to understand this to some degree whether they are expats or not.
So, while as expats we may not always have our family right down the road, or the same can be said for living in the same country but at long distances, we can say that we always carry them with us in our hearts. Even after they are gone, they are still there with us, still a part of us and when we are able to see them and spend time with them in person it is all the sweeter.
Happy Birthday, Mom! I miss you lots and really wish I could be there in Florida to celebrate with you but I know you know you are loved, cherished and treasured.
The title photo for this post is one I took while in Scotland. More about that soon!
Another May baby, my friend Kiki, celebrated the Queen’s 90th last month in style at the Ballantyne in the US. Check her post out here.
My latest travel buddy and partner in crime, Bekah, has added a new pasta recipe to her blog.
Just discovered this blog, Gingerlillytea, and OMG…such beautiful photos!