Someday I’ll have kids, not now, but until that point in my life I’ll continue enjoying the smiles on the faces of the moms and dads that come into the studio with their own kids for photo shoots. I’ve seen those smiles before, the same smile on my mom’s face the first time I flushed the toilet after going “poopie” on my own. I definitely remember the same smile when submitting art projects during grade school, but most recently I remember the smile on my mom’s face when I returned home after living in Argentina for eight-months.
Through Skype, email, and Whatsapp, it wasn’t hard to paint a picture of my experience in South America, but there’s something about a separation of 5,500 miles that I’m sure didn’t resonate well with my mom. I could have been in California and as long as we were in the same country, it would have reassured her more knowing she didn’t need a visa to visit.
But like an old friend, mom was there greeting me with open arms and an open refrigerator as I walked through the door. The once empty nester had again become mother goose. I’m sure the telling signs that I was leaving the country could be spotted through college when I made friends with the foreign exchange students from Japan, Turkey, China and Argentina. It’s one thing to talk about leaving friends and family behind, but it’s another thing to actually do it.
I could say that my eight-month experience was enlightening (it doesn’t get any more enlightening than walking Machu Picchu), I could say it was humbling (how many times has your 5-year-old sacrificed going to school for working at a food market?), but the most important realization of my trip was understanding how strong the connection I have with my mother truly is. It transcends time and distance and it’s a bond we will share forever.
So as I still remember the many smiles on my mom’s face from little accomplishments when I was a child, I look forward to seeing new ones, as our relationship grows stronger and stronger.
Aaron is a Product Manager at Step2 and a graduate student, studying Global Communication. While he enjoys reading anything Ken Follett, he also passes his time reading his childhood favorites, like Harry Potter, in Spanish.