Nowadays, 11:00 PM is 5:00 PM for son Evan. He still has many tropical hours to go before catching up to my time in PA. As I prepare for (or am long in) bed, his Pearl Harbor workday is over. It is time to have dinner on the lanai, or enjoy a little Honolulu nightlife.
When Julie was in London in October, 11:00 PM was 5:00 AM the following day. If I wanted to chat, I needed to wait until at least 9:00 AM (but that would be 3:00 AM Oreland time, so I would not be a very fun telephone partner--unless you didn't mind gentle snoring as a response).
Rosie spent her high school junior year as an exchange student in Chiang Rai, Thailand. In this case, 11:00 PM was 11:00 AM (12 hours earlier). The best time to reach her was more like 5:00 PM (alas, our 5:00 AM). Arranging a time for a Skype chat was a distinct challenge, and we often missed connections.
In these instances, I was keenly aware of the distance between me and my loved ones. Indeed, it felt like they were on other planets--planets where they were midway through days I was only now starting to experience, or on the brink of beginning days I’d already spent.
But what I’m learning is, there doesn’t have to be a time difference for us to feel out of sync. Everyone’s schedules are so various that even those of us on the East Coast can go whole weeks without really connecting. Sheridan has a crazy work life that takes him from NYC to Philly to the Main Line to New Jersey. PJ is in his own Millersville world of classes and practices and yes, the occasional party I’m sure. Rose, now in New York, juggles at least 3 jobs at a time.
So. It’s 11:00. Do I know where my children are? For the most part, no. That’s where I count on God to know. They are somewhere, in dorms and apartments, on subways and buses. I don’t know, but I care so much. Parenting is a slow letting go of control, but never of loving.