In my friend Emma’s poignant blog entry, she talks about her niece Lauren, and how, by choosing to leave home, she is missing out on Lauren growing up.
I know how Emma feels. I too decided to leave home, and know that while I go about my daily business, time does not stop back in Mexico. My mother sits at the computer in her library whether I’m down the hall or not. She gives her dog a treat through the open window, and eats on a tray in her room while she reads. Her husband sits in a patch of sun, beads necklaces that I will never see. My father will go on his morning run and I will not be waiting for him at the breakfast table. He will sit behind his desk in the office, no longer expecting to see me walk in.
And during the very same time that I drive to work, carry on with meetings and make Luca dinner, my parents will grow old. If I dwell on this thought for too long, I feel a sense of loss so strong I can barely breathe.
Before I was born, I made the following promises to my parents:
1. To be happy.
2. To do, to the best of my abilities, the right thing.
3. To be independent, economically and otherwise.
4. To make my own way.
While leaving Mexico was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, I did it without hesitation or difficulty. I did it because it was an intrinsic part of the deal I had struck.
Emma is doing for Lauren the most important thing an aunt can do: she is being an aunt by example. If Lauren’s parents do their job right, Lauren will one day leave everything behind to find her own way. And she will not look back.
Except maybe once, to give Auntie Emma a wink.