Valentine Presence

We moved our daughter into an apartment yesterday. She’s 25, and excited about this move, ready to get to know a new town that has to this point been a place she has visited a bunch of times. The apartment is perfectly situated near the center of town, with easy access to the highway as well as public transportation. It’s spacious and light, and she will share it with two other friends.

None of this sounds so unusual. What is unusual is the proximity to our town. She will be less than a half hour away. While she has been living at home since Christmas, before that she had been in Spain for three months, and apart from a summer in New Haven, had been in Colombia for a year and half prior to that. All of this followed college, which was three hours away, so a town as close as thirty minutes presents unlimited possibilities.

She’s close enough to meet for coffee, to shop for work clothes, have dinner together at either of our houses. She can stay with our still-getting-used-to-Massachusetts dogs, go to movies, walk through the woods with or without pups— all things that we usually do when she is around, but at least for the next few months, we don’t have to be concerned with cramming them all in during the week or two that she usually lands at home.

I am well aware that she is applying jobs that may or may not be in this area. One cannot determine where teaching posts will be for Spanish in the way that she is excited about teaching, and I know that the right job is more important than where it is, at least at this point. We’ll see what pops open, where actual offers come from, and how the factors shake down.

I realize that with her travel in places that have often been remote and not easy to contact or access, or that have involved some level of risk, that I have held myself just a little in check. While my love for her is constant, and our communication is positive, I have been unable to count on more than sporadic conversations and visits only a few times a year. It is always possible to maintain the thread of a relationship, but it takes more concerted effort when someone is hundreds, if not thousands of miles away. Even with the multiple options available today, technology will never replace proximity. And who would want it to?

At least from here, it seems that her next job will be Stateside, so although I cannot count on meeting at the bakery around the corner from her new apartment, I can at least be assured of reliable internet, and a flight of less than six hours, as well as a few months of this nearby arrangement while she sorts it out. Seems like as good a Valentine’s gift as I can conceive of. I’ll gladly take it.

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About Meg

Meg is a licensed independent clinical social worker with over thirty-five years clinical experience. She holds a Master’s Degree from the Boston University School of Social Work and a Bachelor of Arts from the State University of New York at Binghamton.