It was a watershed moment for my daughter. This big moment in a person's life where one moves out of the parents' house and starts a life of their own. This moment was last Sunday, when she moved to a university city to follow her heart and take the humanities program. This means that she finally has full privacy and can start a life as a young woman, taking care of basically everything with no parents nosing into each and every matter. We had planned to go there in the morning to transfer some remaining items and then head to IKEA. There we would shop for some furniture she needed. Unfortunately, the day didn't start promisingly as I felt pain in my chest just after hitting the motorway. There was no other option than to almost immediately leave the motorway at the nearest exit towards the city hospital. This upset her. She had been helping me managing a severe infection in my leg. And on top of that, this drama.
I spent most of the day at the hospital, and the doctors did not find anything serious. We were not able to get to the original destination on time, and she didn't like the change. I suggested that I sleep over at a hotel, and we agreed on that. When we finally went towards the destination and her new life, she was like a small bomb ready to go off, and at the same time, sad as she cared for me.
In silence, we went on the motorway, and I was deep in my thoughts about how to turn this around into something less stressful. My focus on this, made me miss the exit from the motorway. I went a few miles past it until we realized what had happened. I did not turn around however. I like the southern part of the area next to the university city, which is quite beautiful. So I decided to talk her into a tour of the countryside and head into the city from the south. The idea was to slowly get her into the right mood by experiencing this contemplative surrounding. She first darkened as there was another delay. But she also knew what a roadtrip means and deep inside her, I imagined, she longed to experience this area as well.
In the beginning, I realized that she couldn't hold back her tears. I suspected what was on her mind - my state of mind mirrored hers. I looked at her and thought about what was going through her. A new life. Leaving a father that she thought needed care. She knew my loneliness, and felt it. Perhaps also missing her brother, her mother. As we entered the scenic landscapes, I patiently waited for something to draw our attention to and release the tention. Then let a continuation of commentaries turn the event around; commenting slowly with measured pauses. That is, to start this dance, or mood, that you get from a road trip.
The landscape was shifting between woodlands and open agricultural fields. And then, finally, "Oh, look at that church, it looks strange with that roof," I said and pointed to it. In this style, we went on. I started to introduce her to possible picnic destinations; a beautiful meadow where old oak trees grow, the nearby lake with quite small picturesque bathing places, and different locations from my time at the university (I studied there as well). I wove in some small stories from that time. And then, things turned around from the emotionally charged state to a more nostalgic mood. A slight desire also seemed to start in her - to explore the student life, the city and its neighborhoods. Everything was done gently, with pauses to contemplate and really feel the moment we had. And even at times, she expressed a smile or laugh when something funny surfaced. We changed the route again, explored a little of the city by not taking the fastest path, and then we were at the destination.
I was weak, so she did all the heavy lifting, and we finally could say good night. I set out to find a hotel.
Everything went smoothly at the reception but then I discovered I had only 5 percent left on my phone. I also realized I'd left my charger behind in the morning's turmoil. I asked the receptionist if they had a micro-usb - nothing. I spent the last percentage of the charge to call other hotels in the city to see if they had some extra - no luck there. Sometimes one just needs to relax and trust the instincts and simply let go of the control that we crave in our modern world.
Luckily, we had decided to meet at ten in the morning when IKEA opened. I figured we might manage without the phone. So I ended up asking the receptionist to wake me up at nine, and then tried to get some sleep. At ten, I headed to her apartment. She was already outside waiting. The sun shined and she had a smile on her lips; "As always, you're right on time," she remarked.
"Oh no," I said. I forgot I had an appointment with the nurse to redress my wounds. We checked the time. If we could execute effectively in the shopping, we could perhaps make it in time. I could not walk fast because of arthritis in the hip. But it was cool to see how she managed to make fast and smart decisions on what to buy. She did not take the first item that worked. It needed to fit in the room and have the right colors. Also the best option with respect to price and function had to be selected, which really is not trivial, as it sometimes demanded thinking outside the box. I complimented her, by being positive and also using some of my knowledge and experience. It was a nice bonding experience - her engineering mind mixed so well with her humanistic interests.
I returned to the nurse 20 minutes late. I was schooled a little, but also told my wounds were healing nicely. I thought about how difficult it is to manage life's unknowns when we have appointments and a structured life with a full calendar and how hard it is for people to understand that sometimes one cannot meet the expectations as unknowns always play with us. I also contemplated that a full calendar means that it is important to follow the plan in every detail and how unfortunate that had been in case of this journey.
In moments when loved ones are lost in negativity, sometimes all that's needed is a change of pace and be mindful. The sunlight after a rainstorm is sublime. It evokes a sense of rebirth within us; a sense of excitement; and our mood also shines up. It's unwise to rush and cause more negative feelings, as one often needs a peaceful moment. It's amazing how a little patience can transform such situations into memorable moments; to let the storm pass and await the transformation.
As this is a very emotional journey of a text we need of cause to end it with some concluding poetry, just to make us really long for the end at that wait, to tease us into a patience.
An Ode To a Daughter
The father stands ontop of the hill of his emotions;
Chanting with a load voice,
To create the weather and image that he loves:
A cloud, you are!
A storm in the making;
Strong is your wind;
Powerful your anger;
And when your mind lights up;
You're the brightest...
Of us all.
And then the ode surfaces with its smother heartbeat:
The rain of your sorrow.
I see your teared eyes.
The pain you feel, we feel
I know what you do, to me.
I know what I do, to you.
And within me, and on my chin...
One "falls" as well.
But, still, I love this weather.
That makes you, you.
Its the art you, yourself paint.
All stories told in childhood,
Now grown up and shouts a thunder.
And tells me, with all emotions...
How you feel.
As the wind changes.
I felt this need to create.
To let you remember our journey.
To write about a breeze of change.
A change inside your mind.
And a change of your life.
As you leave us...
I love to be with you.
When this breeze enters.
To see how you smile.
How you enjoy the new beginning.
See your hunger for the future.
Yes, patiently I wait.
For the breeze...
Then we work,
As the new days come.
We live our independent lives.
With tasks we must do.
Although the days will move on.
We will sometimes meet.
When we "others" ...
Are heading up north.