Friday, August 19, 2011

Surreal Moments

I always find myself encapsulated in surreal moments when the lines of reality blurs into an abstract dream. I can imagine Dorothy having this bizarre feeling when she found herself traipsing through oz. Taking my twenty-two year old daughter to LAX (Los Angeles Airport) with my granddaughter in the back seat was one of those phantasmagoric moments.

It was Chloe's first time to fly on a plane and for most of her life she has experienced this weird fear of flying. When her best friend bought her a plane ticket to spend a weekend in San Francisco, Chloe was simultaneously nervous and excited. On the way to the airport I went down my to-do list, what-not-to-do list, and be-careful-of-this list for her. I acted like she was going to kindergarten for the first time again.
"Do you have your I.D.?" 
"Yes, Mother!" 
"Where's your purse? Why aren't you bringing one? You need one!" 
"I don't want one!" 
"You won't be drinking on the plane, right?" 
"Why wouldn't I?"
"You gotta take off those bracelets. They won't let you through with them." 
"Duh, I know." 
"Men are going to try to talk to you. You better watch out!" 
(Silence from her but I felt the rolling of her eyes.)
"Okay, you gotta be alert at all times so you know what gates to be at." 
"Yes! I know." 

Okay, can I get any more annoying? I was annoying myself but I couldn't help it. Who WAS I? Wasn't it MY turn to go on an adventure? Why was I taking my grown daughter to the airport and how come I sounded like a nagging shrew? Chloe is 22 but I was still worried for her welfare and as I was driving on the 105 freeway I had a silent conversation with myself. "Shut up, Nannette. Just let her be. She'll be fine. She's not stupid. She's AN ADULT!" But then she let out a little shriek that startled Rylee and me. Chloe was nervous and it was palpable. I released my built up tension by laughing at her exuding a pseudo bravado that I hoped would transfer over. And then she did something that completely shocked me but I kept my face devoid of emotion. She turned off the radio and asked that I prayed for her safety before I forgot. It was her unmasked vulnerability that placed me in a dreamlike state. So I prayed out loud for her safety while Rylee sat in her car seat drinking apple juice from a box, loudly slurping through a straw. For a second that seemed to last an eternity I had two toddlers in the car that needed my protection.

When I parked in front of the terminal and snapped shots of Chloe embarking on her first plane ride I realized that motherhood is a constant process of letting go. Despite their transition into adulthood, a mother's concern for her children never disappear. I watched her kiss and hug Rylee goodbye that mirrored a similar ritual of letting go. 

And so it goes...

In this picture she eerily reminds me of her Auntie Elna who passed away 3 years ago.