Several of my chicks have flown the nest in a big way. I’m not sure how I feel about this.
This is the paradox of parenting. You want to raise your kids to be strong and kind, to have a sense of morality and direction, to make good decisions, etc etc, blah, blah blah. But if you do your job right and accomplish all that stuff, then they want to leave.
Last week BH and I drove down to PA to help Mer (daughter #3 for those of you with a score card) finish moving into her slightly off-campus apartment. She’s spending the summer down there, living out every college almost-sophomore’s dream about not moving home after freshman year. And we are really proud of her, because she’s doing it in a smart way – has a job, is taking a class, found a great apartment, and clearly doesn’t need her mom so much.
Then on Monday, BH and I took Stef (#1) to NYC on a very, very slow Amtrak train.
(This post will now pause to bring you the following haiku:)
Hours late again
We tried to submit, accept
Train zen is a crock
(Back to post)
Why were we going to NYC? Because Stef thought it would be a good idea to spend the summer in China. Yep. Right this very second she’s eating breakfast somewhere near Tiananmen Square in Beijing. She is on a very cool program that offers an 8-week language intensive course, run by CET.
And because the Internet is a wonderful thing, you can follow her adventures. She is anshutian.
After the slow train to China, I mean NY, we took another train, then a bus, and wound up at a Holiday Inn near JFK airport. Next morning, it was time to go. For real. My baby was traveling exactly half-way around the world, and I was supposed to like it. Part of me did – the part of me that went abroad for an entire year when I was 16, the part that loves to travel and learn languages. The other part – the neurotic mom part that worries every time one of my kids gets a hang nail, was freaking.
We checked her in and wandered around for a while, putting off the inevitable. I thought about throwing myself on the ground and locking my arms around her ankles, but there were armed security guards everywhere, and she would have had them arrest me in a second. So I pretended to smile, and so did she, and BH patted us both on the back a lot.
And then it really was time.
You’ll be proud to know I did not collapse when she strode out of sight, or pull out my hair or rend my garments. Yes, I cried (quietly), but I walked towards the train station with my head up, just like she did.
I had scheduled a meeting in NY with my S&S editor which was exactly the right thing to do because I needed the distraction. The train ride home was perfectly on time. After a 10 pm bowl of cereal, I fell asleep easily.
But I woke up several times in the night and walked around the house in the darkness.
I stopped at every window and looked at the moon.