These days, the content of opinions and patents on truth dominate the conversations of social media. I get discouraged because I don’t really feel like the end result cultivates anything narrowing the divides which feel so unyielding. This week, however, I was delighted by the engaging fruits of cyber-connection.
As a mother of four adult children, sometimes I’m guilty of wishing my youngest would linger a bit longer around the hearth and heart of home. When she accepted a new job in Minneapolis, I was a bit surprised at her valiant courage. The daring commitment, however, was followed by the resurgence of that 8-year-old timidity. I recognized it instantly. It was the voice of the little girl who said she would go to the birthday slumber party, but didn’t really want to.
“Mom, would you drive up with me?” I heard the pleading and need. There was no question I would accompany her on this road trip towards an opportunity for professional and personal discovery. A home body, my daughter’s goal was to never live more than an hour away so that Sunday dinners and pop-in visits to make soup were accessible anytime. Moving 11 hours away was a stretch for her. By accompanying her on a road trip to the tundra, I could help shepherd her from the comfort of home as she boldly extended her reach. I wondered why she chose Minnesota in January, but that’s another essay.
We drove into new territories. The brilliance of the sunshine intensified as we crossed the Mississippi River into the snow-covered lands of Minnesota. Minneapolis is a vibrant town with an eclectic flavor of neighborhoods, friendly people, and opportunities to explore. I booked a one-way return airline ticket a few days after our arrival hoping to help my daughter ease into comfort and embrace this new life chapter. I practiced words of encouragement. I anticipated how to best reassure when tears of separation flowed. I adorned cheerleader facial expressions thinking I would meet hesitation in her eyes.
Such mother worries were short lived.
“Oh, I forgot to tell you,” she said as she unpacked her cable-wool sweaters and fleece-lined boots. “I was invited to a birthday party on Saturday night.”
Furrowing my eyebrows, I tried to recall any friends my daughter had in Minneapolis. Apparently, a friend of a friend reached out to her via Facebook. Not only did this person make contact, there were other “friends” in Minneapolis who I knew reaching out with offers to help. Old high school and college friends, friends of family, and those even twice removed suddenly became a North Star State support group. Facebook made this divide not so treacherous. I realized pretty quickly that my daughter would not be as alone as I thought.
“…And also, I’m going to a cycling class at 9 tomorrow morning.” Her phone already had Google Maps noting yoga studios, grocery stores and coffee shops within a mile radius of her new apartment.
So, I found myself sitting in a cafe in Minnesota writing because my daughter was apparently busy making her way in this northern expedition just fine all by herself. She really didn’t need me as much as I thought. That, as we all know, is a good thing.
“Are you going to be OK while I go to the party?” She asked as if the caretaker roles were now reversed.
I reassured her that I would be just fine. After all, I had my coffee, my computer, and my friends on Facebook to keep me company. Anyone want to share stories about Minnesota?
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Anne Marie Romer is one of our regular community contributors.