Song of a Chinese Goat Mom

Polite, indignant outrage invades her tone as she speaks to the U. S. State Department phone rep. “But, what I want to know is why my brother got his passport and we have the very same parents and were born in the very same place and applied at the very same time and I have to send in this ‘long-form’ thingy.” (She will have to figure out what that long-form thingy is and how to acquire one.) In her unprotected encounters with the greater world as her teacher, my dear young adult is dealing with her passport snag and trying to negotiate with federal government employees for clear, reasonable information. Once again in my exercise of release, I adjust into my discomfort of witnessing my offspring come up against an incredible obstacle and be miserable.

Since she’s now a legal adult, she had to show up in person to apply for her passport renewal. Just so happens her underage brother re-applied at the same time and he, too had to present himself in person with parents in tow (new laws in the past 5 years). The clincher is that his passport has arrived. She, on the other hand, received a letter. Big disappointment! He’s not planning an international trip. She has hopes for Beijing in June.

No, I was not restrained enough to stay out of it altogether. I did remind, cajole, and explain the limitations of an 8-hour work-day in federal agencies with a federal holiday looming on Monday and school starting on Tuesday. Perhaps she would have initiated her response without my questionable help, we’ll never know. It took lots of self-discipline to contain my impulse to direct her action and timing. Releasing the problem to her, over and over again as I contemplated solving a problem that really isn’t mine anymore. After all, if she can’t figure out how to get a passport she’s got no business heading off to China.

Of course, she’ll solve this problem, exasperated tears and all, ‘cause I have yet to see her fail at getting want SHE really, really wants. I’ll take comfort in that, using it for my personal reassurance. Meanwhile, the bro comes home from school, walks into the house and is greeted with, “It’s arbitrary, it’s arbitrary! Depending on what office the application is sent to, some accept the standard birth-certificate and others don’t. There’s no reason why they do or don’t accept either form. So, I have to do all this stupid stuff and no one knows why.”

Posted in Uncategorized on 01/16/2011 09:40 am

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