Decades ago, I studied in Austria, a young seventeen year old starting college at a foreign University in a language I barely understood. My mom and I both wept at my departure.
It was our first significant goodbye, and neither of us knew how to navigate it well. I did not fully understand the significance of this goodbye; I did not realize this was a formative launch into my adulthood. It seemed more an adventure than a goodbye. But my mother understood. She knew this sweet chapter in our lives together was closing and a new, uncharted chapter was unfolding. I would always be welcome home with warm embrace, but home was shifting, and my mom understood someday my home would not be her kitchen.
For decades, my mom would send me Mozartkugel, the sweet chocolate bonbons filled with marzipan that are sold at every shop in Salzburg. It was her nod to this transition for both of us, this time of goodbye and unfolding of new beginnings.
My mom has been dead for years. My daughter, knowing her grandmother sent me these special chocolates, has taken up the tradition, buying me Mozartkugel when she sees them. They are a sweet reminder to me that I am loved from generation to generation.