If I Could Create An Emoji

I read the latest unintelligible text message from my university-age daughter, one which mixes shorthand and slang words with the odd number thrown in. I translate: Home soon. Seeing a friend first.

July 14, 2021

My children are becoming independent. The years I’ve spent nurturing them in body, mind and spirit are over; it’s time for them to look after themselves. Which could be why my youngest spent the first four months at her new university mainly not sleeping, not eating properly, and being ill.

Click here to listen

A phrase which resonated with many during the referendum a few years ago was “take back control”. Yet the reality is with my adult children, I don’t have control. Or even the illusion of it. As a parent, I’ve given them the foundation – or tried to – and it’s now up to them to fly. I fervently hope they don’t knock in to too many sharp objects along the way.

How can I convey my hopes for my children? The closest emoji I have now is the “fingers crossed” one. That probably comes from a Pagan belief prevalent many years ago in Western Europe.  Apparently the ‘crossing part’ was thought to mark a concentration of good spirits. The aim was to anchor a wish, until it became true.

And that brings me to the emoji I’d create: one with hands up by either side of the face. Not with the face showing panic, as might happen if a police officer was shouting at someone “hands up”! But with the face showing peacefulness. For my emoji is peaceful surrender. An acknowledgement of the reality that what happens is out of my hands. Yes I wish and hope and pray for the best to happen. But I believe ultimately it’s in God’s hands.

Every time a Muslim stands up to pray, we raise our hands up either side of our face and say a phrase in Arabic that means: God is greater.  God is greater than everything else. I surrender; He’s got this.      

I receive another message from my daughter. Plans have changed. She has no idea if she’s coming home tonight for dinner, let alone what’s happening next week. Time for my hands to go up by my face. Time for my peaceful surrender emoji.