Tuesday, 27 March 2012
Relief is a One Way Ticket.
Yesterday my son landed at Heathrow on a one-way ticket.
For the past six years he has been working in ex-Soviet countries, first Russia, and more recently Kazakhstan, but now he is back in England, in the sunshine, jogging in Hyde Park, and even having a bit of a lie-down on the fresh spring grass.
I haven't actually seen him.
I hope I have always supported my sons in their careers and life-styles, and been proud of their adventurous spirits, but until today I did not fully appreciate the cost of having off-spring quite so far out of reach.
I realised the effect of this because I went to the dentist this morning and very nearly fell asleep in the chair. Even while I was being de-plaqued and polished, I nearly nodded off.
Then I came home and fell asleep in the sunshine in the garden. Now I am awake and a sort of dull mahogany colour with sparkling teeth, which is really quite unnerving.
I never do these things; dozing off during the day, but I suddenly realise - the relief is immense. Vast. As vast as the distance between here and Central Asia.
And now I can barely put one foot in front of the other, so I sit stretched out, like the Pasque flowers on my rock garden.
I hope I never let it be known, this low-level anxiety. The one thing I have always believed in is giving my children freedom, but this in itself can create in them a feeling that I may not care enough. Such a tightrope, such a delicate balance. As a parent you can but do your very best and hope it is enough, hope you are giving the right messages.
Yesterday, when my son telephoned with news of his arrival on English soil, I said something of how relieved I was, something of the anxiety, which was always made so much more complex by the need to have visas.
'I was always concerned,' I said, 'That you might suddenly need me and I wouldn't be able to come straight away.'
'Yes, Mum,' he said. 'I might have needed emergency trouser repairs.'
Which puts it all into the right perspective, somehow!