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I got a tearful phone call from my daughter across the ocean yesterday. She was homesick, as is to be expected, and her hosts graciously handed her their house phone to make the international call to us. I sent the mom a note to thank her and to say we’d just increased our girl’s telephone capabilities so she might connect with us and her brothers more often. I got back the dearest note, a regular mother-to-mother message that showed me that despite our language differences and our cultural differences, she understood our concerns about our daughter. She said, “You can be proud that she is homesick, because it also means that you, as her family, is most important for her, that she loves you that much, that our love for her is not enough and never will be enough! She can be in contact with you as much as she wants!” All this from someone who just met her!

I love the universality of these ideas. And of motherhood in general. We all love our children and want to protect them from pain, but in this case, one of the reasons to have my girl participate in the international exchange program is to help her learn the universality of men, among so many other lessons. And having her mothered by someone else far from home just when she feels this kind of personal pain, I guess, is one way to do it.