Though I have less funds than I had been planning at this particular point in my life, I went ahead and bought plane tickets to Costa Rica on a credit card. February 27th. When I told my mom over the phone the other day, she immediately responded, “I thought you don’t have any money.” Ugh, my downer mom. “…you asked us to all go in on a Christmas gift this year and get you a sewing machine because you said you can’t afford one, but you have enough for Costa Rica?” I tell her I put in on a credit card. So what anyway!?!? I have priorities. I earn my own money, mommy! Right now was the time to get the tickets.
It is true that I can’t afford a sewing machine, but what one can afford is not always a matter of how much money one has (especially in the days of credit and the stock market). It’s a matter of priorities and how much risk you are going to take. I wouldn’t go into debt for a thing. When I was a child and my mother was young, it always turned out that, though there were times when she couldn’t feed her children, she always seemed to manage to be able to afford the paint and other supplies she needed. I have never held this against her, because I get it. She needs to do art to keep her sanity. Art supplies were a necessity. She sacrificed much of her money, days and time to raising us three kids, something our fathers did not do. She deserved to have something that wasn’t to be sacrificed simply because she was a single mother.
For me, the occasional and regular self-displacement from my life, culture, home, town, is a necessity. I haven’t left the country for two and a half years. Leaving helps me see clearly, away from mundaniness, the regularity, the familiarity that works my thought cycles in circles. It gets me back in touch with myself, in order to grow in a more authentic way.
But this trip is extra special ‘cause we are going to meet Ramona’s paternal family. She has never met her father. He doesn’t really talk to me and he doesn’t do the internet. He didn’t have a cell when I was there, and no one has given a number to me. Once in a while I hear a word. But I am not going for him. Ramona wants to meet her dad, so I am taking her. Lately, when the subject of her father comes up in conversations with people, she replies with a nervous sort of laugh. One that is quite familiar to me. It is the exact same nervous giggle I used to emit when I was little and confronted with a situation that I was uncomfortable and insecure about. I still have a version of it as an adult.
Now, when I mention to someone our trip to Costa Rica, she declares, “We are going to go see my dad!” I had never heard her say “dad” with such boldness before this. She is thrilled and proud to go. I try to help her not have her hopes up too much. Of course I don’t want her to be disappointed. But I know that the time is now, she wants to meet her father.
Besides, she loves to travel. She is quite adventurous and curious; traveling fulfills her quest for constant stimulation and newness. If things feel uncomfortable with his family, we we will be spending three weeks in a beautiful tropical paradise.
But yes, I am nervous. I know not to worry too much, because the truth is that most likely everything with turn our great. I left her dad because I couldn’t be his partner (i.e. wife). I was not willing to live in Costa Rica with him. We are not made for each other. I didn’t trust that my staying would cure him of his issues with drinking, drugs, jealousy, etc. I wanted to protect my daughter from the horrors that children go through when their parents’ relationship gets ugly. I knew it would end, and why make the baby be there to witness the pain of the separation? Not that he doesn’t have a good heart, he does. He was always kind and gentle to me. He’s been hurt in his life and doesn’t know how to deal with it in a productive manner.
And honestly, I am also nervous because there was no lack of chemistry between us. I know that we were attracted to each other until the day I left. I know that, as I ran from the house, late, to catch the bus, we both hoped on some level that I would miss the bus.