Sunday, July 5, 2015

Countdown to Qatar: Letting Go of Family

Going Further from Home and Family

This holiday week-end, my Dad, Jerry, my step-mom, Dottie, and my grand-niece, Paige, drove the long trip from Illinois to see me before I depart in another five weeks.  We spent a rainy Friday at The Breaks Interstate Park so Paige could see the dramatic landscape so very different from the flat lands of her home state.

This morning, I sent them home with a smile on my face, but I teared up on the way back into the house.  One more act of letting go.

In fact, after I move, I will probably see them as much, perhaps even more, than I do now.  But there is something about putting an 8-10 hour plane ride (rather than an 8-10 hour car ride) between us that suggests a deeper, more lasting separation.

My new employer, the Qatar University College of Law, will pay for an annual trip home.  It will also give me $5,000/year to spend on conference attendance -- some of which I will spend in the U.S.  But, if I want to keep my income largely tax-free, I must limit my stays in the U.S. to less than 30 days.

My Dad, famously active and healthy, is still getting older.  He will turn 81 this summer.  It won't be as easy for me to respond to a health crisis from so far away. Similarly, when I broke my leg, Dad and Dottie played a very important role in my recovery from a series of surgeries.  I'll have to be more self-sufficient, as well as good at cobbling together, in Qatar, the kind of wonderful support system I've found here. 

I will miss watching Paige continue to grow into a lovely, smart, athletic, woman with an open-heart, surprising wisdom, and warm personality.  She has changed so much since I last saw her!  I hope she comes to visit me in Qatar. 

She really enjoyed her trip into the mountains.  She loved the landscape and the people.  She found a new friend in Kyle.  In this photo, they are waiting for the fireworks display to start. 

I sent them off with goods from the house (another letting go): 
  • Four coffee pot, sugar, and creamer sets from the ironstone collection, 
  • A  chalkboard menu from a restaurant in Iowa -- probably from the 50s or 60s.  I was surprised that my Dad had had his eye on it.  It was one of the first antiques I collected.  I was 19 years old then.
  • The tools my grandfather, Paul Young, owned. 
  • My power saws and sanders.
  • Cookbooks.
  • Gardening books.
  • A garden chotchke.
  • Two Victorian lady's coin purses in gold mesh. 

Next week, my best friend from high school, Kenn Ann, will come for a good-bye visit.  More about that in my next post.