In 2014 and 2015 I spent approximately the same 10ish day period between April 29 and May 10 in the UK and Republic of Ireland.
Both trips registered in my mind as joyful one-offs. The kind of thing I might not have a chance to do again, so I better do it now. .
I would never call something I did once a year, two years running a habit. But we’re in that temporal window now and I’m not abroad, and I am both sorely missing annual experiences in the UK/ROI and finding lifelong US experiences a little surprising and unfamiliar.
Why is spring coming along so slowly? — Usually, it has already sprung when I get off the plane last year.
Why do I care so much about the London Mayoral election? — I was in town for the Prime Minister’s race last year.
Tickle in my brain about Irish politics? — I was in Dublin last year at the annual Gay Theatre Festival just weeks before the landmark equal marriage referendum.
It’s an emotional tension I would not trade or wish away; grounded in the elemental pull of the change of seasons, the unexpected emotional weight of Mother’s Day, but most deeply rooted in the profoundest luxury of flinging myself thousands of miles across an ocean to be so warmly caught up in the arms of friends who are so much family that a foreign land feels, indeed, like a home.
Friends at home and abroad who I am near and I am not, you do nothing less vital than holding all my pieces together. Thank you. I love and miss you.
It was the writer Caitlin Myer and one of her thoughtful contemporaries who accidentally colluded on social media to both awaken this beautiful saudade, and get me to meditate on the Mothers in our culture who won’t get cards and brunch.
How did I miss Caitlin’s amazing essay Positive I Don’t Have a Uterus? — Oh it ran last year when I was abroad.
Thank heavens for the internet, and all the meanings of mother today.