Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

A mother’s thoughts as her daughter leaves for Argentina June 9, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 10:31 AM
Tags: , ,

I TOSSED AND TURNED LAST NIGHT, as if wrestling alligators in my sleep, although I dreamed of white rats.

Twice I got up, once to pop an Ibuprofen that I hoped would loosen the muscles in my shoulders that felt like taut, knotted ropes.

The drug worked its magic, if but briefly. I awoke this morning with tension pain still sweeping across my shoulders.

I expect that ache to linger, at least until I hear from my Argentine-bound daughter. She leaves in several hours from the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport bound for Houston and then for Buenos Aires.

I’ve made her promise to contact me as soon as possible, to assure me she’s safely reached her destination.

You would think by now that I would be used to this footloose, fancy-free life my second daughter leads. She’s been to Argentina before, lived there for six months while studying abroad and doing mission work. Prior to that, she traveled domestically, beginning in high school.

But this time it’s different. She’s on her own, arriving in Buenos Aires without a defined living space, without a defined schedule of activities, without parameters set by a university. She’ll stay in a hostel for awhile until she finds an apartment.

She’ll be a working woman, interning as a public relations assistant with a company that offers walking tours of the Argentine capital.

I worry that she won’t come home. She’s a Spanish major who loves South America. But my daughter assures me that she purchased a two-way ticket.

The practical, sensible mother in me wants her to stay here, in Minnesota (heck, I’d even settle for the Midwest, even the U.S.), and find a good-paying job (even just a job) to repay the college loans that will come due later this year.

But I must let her go, to follow her dreams, to take this adventure, now while she’s young and free.

© Copyright 2010 Audrey Kletscher Helbling