In the early 90s I spent one of my last college semesters living abroad in London. My classes were drama, classical music, and art. Our classrooms were performance halls, orchestra venues and museums. I recall so vividly, being finished with weekly classes by noon on Wednesdays. That may have been the last time I actually had some work/life balance that favored the latter. Something to strive for!

I went overseas without knowing anyone. I coordinated with the school to connect with 3 other young women and share a flat in Earls Court. Two of them were from my college, and the third from another. We were different and the same, and bonded as we traveled to Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Amsterdam and all through England.

Sometimes the four of us got along, sometimes we took the space we needed apart, but our bond was absolute. Over those five months we shared in the young and novel freedom that can only be found in an adventure like this. As the semester was ending we made arrangements to travel a little more, before returning to the US or head straight home in time for the holidays.

Bitter sweet as are most endings, it was hard to say goodbye. So much had happened. We learned things about ourselves, each other, and the world, that we would forever carry with us. It reminded me of leaving summer camp every year (which was only two or three weeks) and having to go a whole year without seeing them again.

Sans phones leaving summer camp, and leaving London, there were no social media posts to reflect back on, there were no group text strings or Zoom meetings. No FaceTime or even emailing. We had paper and pens, and a short window to say goodbye to one another.

Then one of our flat mates had this great idea: Each person write a good bye letter, for the other three, and distribute them before our flights. That way each of us would have three letters to read from each other, once we were boarded and in our seats for the long journey over the pond. It was a formal way to mark the transition, a clear ending to what had been such an impactful time for all of us.

We have so much technology now, most folks aren’t writing checks, let a lone actual letters. I am grateful for the ones I receive. One of my flat mates and I remain close even to this day! (@KB thanks for remembering my birthday every single year since we met in 1991!)

But today is Mother’s Day. And I will spend it driving with Zach (singing of course) to help transport my Mom, his Nana to the airport for a trip of her own. Rather than trying to jam in the process of quickly reading cards and exchanging niceties, I decided to write her an airplane Mother’s Day card, and include all cards in one, so when she gets into her seat on the plane, she can be still and receive the love we all have for her.

Airplane letters are still a powerful way to connect. Maybe because the reader has no where else to be and can’t get out of her seat. Or because putting pen to paper seems a lost art. If you are so inspired, try doing this for someone you love, next time they have a transition to make or a long flight ahead. You might be surprised at what comes from the heart when our words require focus and attention, such that we get them onto paper.

Spoiler Alert: It takes a little more presence than liking someone’s post or sending an emoji.

If this day brings you JOY, I wish you happiness. If this day brings you AGONY, I wish you peace and grace. If you’re like me, you have a foot in planted both continents.

Safe travels Mom and all the Moms traveling today!

Click to access the login or register cheese