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The 3,000 Mile Umbilical Cord

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It's funny about umbilical cords. If they are supposedly cut at birth, then why am I still connected in some ancient, mammalian way to generations of my family -- even though they live 3,000 miles away?

It must be a weird inherited thing. My mom had it, too. She lived on the East Coast, I lived on the West. She checked my weather every day -- did it rain on her child or was she having a nice sunny day? Ditto for my horoscope. Did Aries have to be careful with co-workers today? Was I going into danger with my love life?

Her connections with me were mostly through her newspapers, a paper umbilical cord. My umbilical cord is electronic. I'm a doofus over-50 texter, typing messages with arthritic thumbs. Sure, I use a cell phone too, but hate to intrude on busy lives. That's why I love email. Also Skype. All those faces. What's not to love?

But whatever form the cord takes -- paper, cloud-lifted emails, clumsy-thumbed text -- it's the ancient umbilical connection with just one central question: How are you?

And, no matter how old I get, even if I make it to 100, I'll be checking the weather where my family members live -- each of their cities is already bookmarked on my iPhone. And maybe I'll honor my mom's tradition and check their horoscopes. (I don't believe in them, but always believed in mom.) Will my kids and grandkids have a good day? Should they take on a new venture? Stay away from Scorpios?

So, you tell me: Am I a helicopter grandmother, hovering above family when the stereotype says I should be out playing bingo at the senior center? (Not on your life. Bingo tiles equal brain death. )

My guess is that I'm just like many out-of-work mothers, decommissioned by our children's independence and rightly so. As I see it, I cut the apron strings years ago, but never the cord.

Childhood ends, but motherhood is eternal.