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Business Trip

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Six years ago it was evening, and the light came gently through the slats of the hospital window shades, and the room was strangely calm, and it was all so new, and then she was in my arms, a being of radical energy, and I sang to her. Today it was morning of breakfasts and lunches and searching for car keys and rushing and phone calls and singing and dancing of birthday and presents and then of my leaving. Now daytime is flying beneath me is desert before me is evening of working and teaching and she is behind me.

She cried while I applied eye makeup and when I left to catch my flight.

I pinky-promised that I’d try never to travel on her birthday again, but as I sit here tumbling away, I know that this promise didn’t console her. And I know that no matter what I decide or decides me in the future, there will be times when I am not there when she needs me, when she is going in one direction and I in another, when I cannot give her what she needs when she needs it.

As the distance between us grows, in time, in space, I realize that I must learn how to better help her navigate the distances that inevitably arise. Perhaps this is my most important job as her mother.

Today, six years later, I learned something. I write it, share it, so as to attempt to better etch it into my own being, with the hope that it may help me diminish the future distances.