Monday, May 12, 2008

My Ode to Mother's Day

There's a part of me that lives at the opposite end of the world -- in southern Chile. My whole entire life revolves around Michigan, but a huge piece of my heart resides in that skinny little country on the western side of South America. I made one of the best decisions of my life during my senior year of college and decided to step out of my comfort zone and study abroad in Valdivia, Chile for a semester.

In honor of Mother's Day yesterday, I really felt compelled to share a part of this experience that truly changed my life forever. I unfortunately have not had the joy of celebrating Mother's Day in the past few years with my real mother, but the day did make me think of my Chilean mother and my second family that lives oh so far away. Viviana, Pedro, Sebastian and Robin...they are as much a part of my life and my family as my real dad and brother are. It's days like Mother's Day that I really miss my Chilean family and wish that I could be there to celebrate holidays with them.

There used to be a fifth member of the family -- Don Robinson, the father of the household. Robinson was someone who you couldn't help but to like. He wasn't very outspoken and was really rather shy most of the time. But he would jump through fire if you needed him. And he loved his family and friends more than anything. He took me in and accepted me as part of his family without thinking twice, and in four short months, I had grown to admire and respect him. Then suddenly, abruptly and without any sort of warning, his life was cut short by a heart attack a few months ago. Viviana and the boys were left without a husband and a father. I felt like I had also lost a father. I was heartbroken that I couldn't make it to the funeral (flights to Chile cost about half of my savings!), and my heart still aches when I think about him. I choke back tears now writing this because I still can't comprehend why he was taken away from this world so quickly. Robinson's death is only about the second time in my life that I've had to question God's reasoning for why life plays out the way it does. But he's gone, and life must go on.

Viviana is doing better as each day goes by, and the boys are getting stronger and learning how to function without the solid rock they always depended on. It's amazing to me that it's almost been two years since I first left for my adventure in a "different land." And when I talk to my family, it's like I never left. They still tell me they miss me and love me. They ask when I'm coming back to visit. Pedro wants to know when we are going to carretear (party!)

So while Mother's Day conjured up somber memories of a time when I used to happily celebrate the holiday, it also gave me the chance to reminisce about the mother and family that's patiently awaiting my return to Chile. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in my life here and work that I go weeks without talking to them -- and it kills me when I realize how long it's been since we've exchanged life stories. I'll never forget them -- the way they opened their door and arms for me, the enormous impact they made on my life, the way they sobbed when I left and the way they waved white tissues as my bus pulled away from the city I grew to love. I hope Viviana had a happy Mother's Day, even though it was her first one without her soul mate.

Love really is an amazing thing...especially the kind of love that stretches across two continents.

1 comment:

metrogal84 said...

I have to choke back the tears when I read this. For sure one of my favorites of your posts. Makes me want to say te amo, Viviana! =)