Dallas was the last stop in our travels. Many asked why we were going there. “To see old friends” is the simple answer. But, how did we become friends? That answer is a lot more complicated.
I gave birth to a baby boy in 1987. There’s a funny story around that – My older daughter (8 years old at the time) and I went to a girl scout camp weekend getaway. I was obviously pregnant. “Oh my, you are going to be a big sister!” Oh no, he’s not ours 😯 You can imagine the strange looks and then the questions. I was a surrogate and I was carrying that child for another family.
I always felt good pregnant, and I felt this was something I could do fairly easily so why not help someone? I went through an agency but it was like the universe made a perfect match. We got along in every way and were in agreement on all the decisions that are made when waiting for a child. His mom and I wrote letters throughout the pregnancy and forged a very nice friendship. After he was born, I didn’t miss him but I missed her!
She never disappeared from my life though. We had been communicating through the agency to protect everyone’s privacy, but after his birth we exchanged last names and addresses. She wrote me with updates and always sent a bunch of pictures on every birthday. They said he was always an easy and happy kid and they loved being his parents. To me, it felt like watching the child of a good friend grow up, and I was happy to see he was doing well and the family was very happy.
I didn’t know his dad as well, but after moving to Panama we started communicating by email instead of paper letters. Since dad is more accustomed to using technology, he and I started talking as much as his mom and I, and I quickly came to like his dad a lot also.
Fast forward to my recent travel plans. Dad learned that I was going to Tulsa so he asked if I was going to have a layover in Dallas. Could we meet for a cup of coffee? Or, if I’m coming to visit my sister, could we get together? (My sister is in the process of moving from Dallas to the Boston area and wasn’t in Dallas when I was there). Or, could you just come and stay with us for a little while? We’d love to see you.
Wow, I had to accept this invitation. We hadn’t seen each other since 1987, but they have always been very kind to me and I’ve always liked them, so yes. I would love to visit.
Keeping in touch with letters and emails is nice, but it’s definitely not the same as visiting someone in person in their home. They were both SO nice and went out of their way to make us comfortable and well taken care of. Dad had Texas BBQ on hand for lunch and made amazing omelets for breakfast. Dad took Joel out riding around to visit his car wash. Mom took me walking in the mall (it was 106 that day!) and we talked and talked. We went out for wonderful TexMex food and margaritas and we talked all evening. They did everything they possibly could to show us a good time and take care of us. They are more successful in business than I realized, but they are humble, down to earth people who give a whole lot of their time and resources to help the disadvantaged people in their community.
When you do something, you never know what effect it may have on others. Dad said this boy was the best thing that happened to them, to their marriage, and to their family! I just about melted on the spot to think I was a small part of that. To me, it was an interesting experience over maybe the space of a year, but for them it was a life changing thing.
These recent travels have really made me think about my priorities. It’s nice to travel and see new places, but for me traveling to see people who mean something in my life, that’s where it’s at for me. Now that I have connected and reconnected with people scattered all over the USA, I’m going to use my energy and resources to spend more time with these people. Next up – the northeast! There is a cousin in NY who I want to meet, and I want to visit my sister after she gets settled in their new Boston area home. And, there’s a couple of old college friends I’d like to see if we can work it out.
Often I have nothing noteworthy to write about in my blog, but right now I have a couple more things on my mind. Coming home was complicated and involved navigating the new terminal at Tocumen airport. And, we returned to a country upended with protests and civil unrest. No, I’m not worried. To my knowledge no property has been destroyed and nobody has been hurt. But, a lot of people have been inconvenienced and put in a difficult financial and emotional state.
So, stand by. I have a lot of emails to write, and spiders in corners to disturb, and dust to sweep out, and weeds to pull, but I’ll keep moving forward with all of it.