When I am with my daughter Beth, I offer tea. She sunnily says yes, chooses her herbal mix, and flashes one of her beautiful smiles at me as I set the mug down by her. Later I will dump the cold tea down the drain. Beth has taken a sip and then moved on- to another email, deadline, meeting or demonstration. I understand it- her mind is in constant motion, her passion simmering below the surface. Anxiety simmers there as well, but she soldiers on. She is a student, activist, filmmaker, interpreter, and she is busy.
Yesterday she celebrated her 30th birthday far from us, in Honduras. From us she had cards given earlier to be opened on the actual birthday. She had emails and a powerpoint of photos from her life, set to favorite music. She had a short video clip of her baby nephew to amuse her.
She emailed pictures of the table of nuns she was staying with, and the card, mylar balloon on a straw, and red rose they set at her place. I was immeasurably grateful to them for being her family and friends at that moment. Yet I would rather be serving my Beth tea destined to be poured out, than sending electronic messages to her through the sky.