My kids were 22 and 23 when I started this life, and they were extremely independent. They had both left Los Angeles where my husband and I were living. One was in Singapore for a year and the other was in Vail, Colorado.
We had never had the kind of relationship that included daily phone calls (until recently, I never even realized that some families do talk to their adult children every day), though both my husband and I had always been there for them when they needed us, and I was more or less a stay-at-home mom until they took off for college. While I was living my nomadic life, I returned to the U.S. at least twice a year and sometimes I stayed for a couple of months.
I didn’t ask my kids or my parents how they felt about my choice to live a nomadic life, and I’m not sure what they would have said if I had. At the time they seemed OK with it. My son came to Bali and New Zealand while I was there, and my daughter spent a month in Guatemala, a few weeks in the Galapagos, four months in Bali, and three weeks in New Zealand. And we traveled in Thailand together.
I was frequently out of telephone communication, but I tried to write every week. I did miss them, but I was living a full life and so were they. Once e-mail came into being, we “talked” frequently.
It wasn’t until many years later that they told me they wished I had been a more traditional mom, at the other end of a telephone when they needed me. It’s true, I wasn’t there for their crises. Nor was I a part of their daily lives (I’m not sure I would have been if I’d been living in the country). I did miss some important events which I write about in the book. But the kids were close to their father and they do recognize that there are some significant advantages to having a mother who loves her life.
My parents saw me more during my single nomadic years than they had when we were living on different coasts. And when my father died, I took time off from my travels to set up care for my mother, who was suffering from Parkinsons, in her home. I loved the people who cared for my mother. They were kind and caring and responsible. I have even visited their families in Colombia and Argentina, and I am still, five years after my mother’s death, close to several of them. They became my family and my mother’s family for five years. They still are an important part of my life.