It’s said that every person in the world is just six degrees of separation from every other person in the world. The idea is that if you wanted to meet someone, you’re only six steps away, by introduction, from anyone else on the planet. We’re just that connected. You could literally meet anyone, anywhere, if you asked a friend, who asked a friend, then a friend of that friend, until you reached the desired person.
But what about those smaller degrees? Yes, we’re all interconnected, but we’re more closely connected to some than others.
If there are more than 7 Billion people in the world, and we all are connected within six steps, why is it that when just one specific, particular person out of those 7 Billion leaves us, do we feel a void?
Which brings me to this: I took my mom to the airport this morning.
My mom lives 3,500 miles away from me. She lives in sunny Florida. I live in the at-the-moment-sunny-but-don’t-kid-yourself-the-rain-will-soon-return Washington State. An entire continent comes between us. But not this past week. She spent this past week with me here in the Skagit Valley, soaking up the San Juan Islands, the snow capped mountains, the local grown corn so sweet it’s almost painful. And I’m not ashamed to say that as I left her at airport security, I wept real tears.
I was nervous about her visit, I must admit. My mom was not very happy when I decided to renounce Florida and head to the other side of the country. I hoped that her displeasure at my leaving her would not discolor her view of my new home. I hoped she would see what I see here, why I agreed to marry and move so far away from everyone and everything I’d ever known. Yes, it was the man who brought me. But the place sold it, too. Would she see this new land with soft eyes or harsh stares? I couldn’t be sure.
So, we ventured and toured. We took a boat ride to the edge of Canadian waters, climbed hilltops to gaze out at the Puget Sound, and shopped until my credit card cried “Uncle.” We ate, we laughed, we walked and talked and I realized how much I really love and miss her. I also heard, many more times than once, things come out of her mouth that I say pretty much every day. What a surprise to learn that I am so much like her. What a gift to spend a week in her company and love her more, appreciate her more, as the days went on.
The greatest moment came when, after a day of bright sunshine and spectacular views, she turned to me and said, “I love it here.”
Not that she would ever leave Florida. No, that’s her home. But that acceptance, that recognition that I had made the right choice, that she could see it and agreed with it, filled me up in a way I may not ever feel again.
There may be six degrees of separation between all people. But for now, the one I’m most interested in is the one degree, the separation that just got a little bit closer.
Love you, Mom.
Stacie Zinn Roberts is a nationally recognized, award-winning writer and marketing expert with more than 25 years of experience. She has won more than 40 national awards for her work including the United Nations Environmental Program for retail environmental marketing, as well as from organizations such at the Public Relations Society of America and the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association. She’s written for industry publications such as Golf Course Management, Sports Turf, Golfdom and PR Daily. She spent eight years as the president and director of marketing for Environmental Turf, where she developed the branding for SeaDwarf Seashore Paspalum, the grass that eventually became the greens grass for the Rio Olympic Golf Course. Stacie served for six years on the Board of Directors of the Florida Turfgrass Association as Chair of the Research & Scholarship Committee where she worked closely with the scientists from the University of Florida’s turfgrass breeding program. Stacie founded What’s Your Avocado? Marketing & Public Relations in 2012.