Talking about leaving the nest!

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.

Le sigh.

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.

Le sigh.

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.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Stef in front of a slightly inauthentic Asian food place at the airport.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Cool sign

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.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Stef flying away from the nest and towards the security screening line.

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.

14 Replies to “Talking about leaving the nest!”

  1. I imagine my own mama felt that very same way when we parted ways in Minneapolis when I went off to Guangzhou, China for a few months.

    SHE WILL LOVE IT!!!!!! πŸ™‚

    You’re a good mama!!! HUGS!!!!

  2. Hello! CHINA???? *waving* If she wants to come to Shanghai, I’ll be happy to host her! (but I leave July 16 – Sept 1 for the US). E me if you want! πŸ™‚

  3. Professional Substitute Daughter
    Available: Nights and Weekends
    Resume available upon request.
    Don’t talk to parents. (Especially BH’s old band buddy. So says he.)

    little quirk πŸ™‚

  4. Awww… thank you so much for the kind offer!!!! Her schedule is very tight until the day she leaves (mid-August), so I don’t think it will work. I’m pretty sure she’ll be going back some day. Will let you know if she’s still there.

  5. leaving the sideline

    I get a lump in my throat when my six year old leaves the sideline to play soccer. You’re telling me it doesn’t get better?! On the other hand, it will be easier if mine grows up to be as good a person as Steph. It will, won’t it? Let me know when you start a parent/writer support group. All the best,
    Paul Acampora

  6. Your a very good mama!!!!

    hey i get that way when my mama and sister went to washington d.c. last year. also when my 2 best friends left to go back home to japan on june 1. you’ll miss her alot but at least she’ll be coming back!!!!!

    my prayers and hugs go out to you BH and Steph


  7. I’m leaving to study in England in a couple weeks and I can tell you right now that my mother is going to cry. Even the Hallmark commericals get her. πŸ™‚ ♥

  8. I dunno, can’t think of one right now..

    Hi Mrs. Laurie!

    I’m currently in the process of reading SPEAK for High School. I just wanted to compliment you on writing such a gripping story. I’m going to be a freshmen this year, and of course I’m a little scared. I went through some depressing times during middle school, because my Mom attempted suicide and my parents fought, and I had a boyfriend who didn’t care about me, so I have this harboring sadness if you want to call it when I read your book. Maybe it’s because Melinda at times can remind me of myself when I was going through such times.
    I’m okay now though ^.^ I have a new boyfriend who cares about me and loves me so yayness!
    Back to complimenting you though, (laugh) I thought it was interesting at how well you caught the mind of a teenager. It just proves that you don’t have to use fancy dialouge or words to make something deep and meaningful. I think it’s amazing at how you put so much raw emotion into the book. I can’t help but be forced to put the book down at times because I’m either going to cry or I begin to think about the bad things that have come into my life.
    When Melinda was raped, I have a somewhat sense of the pressure she had during that moment. My new boyfriend, we went a little too far once. I felt almost pressured into it, but I know he wasn’t meaning to come on that way. I told him when I was scared though, and he stopped, so we’re okay and nothing too bad occured. My boyfriend, Matthew, now understands that it’s really not good to push things like that–that sex or whatever really isn’t something to perticularly delve into without the proper thought. We were terrified after it happened, scared something was going to happen. Mostly pregnancy, even if we didn’t go that far as to of me possibly getting pregnant. I think he was more scared than me, and he was hurt very badly to know he’d scared me or hurt me in anyway.
    I’m rambling, (laugh) I’m sorry. Honestly though, I respect you as a writer, because I dream to be a writer myself. I’m currently working on a book. It’s not my first one to try and finish, but hopefully I’ll get this one done though. I write all kinds of stories on my webiste, , feel free to glance at it, though I know you’re probably busy.
    Anyway, thanks for taking the time to read what I wrote, keep up the work with writing and I can’t wait to finsh the book!

    Lauren Alexander

  9. Re: I dunno, can’t think of one right now..

    Thank you so much for sharing all this Lauren. Good luck with your writing!

  10. NYC and China

    Hey Laurie! Glad the trip to NYC went well. Did you have the pretzel? I was glad to see that someone else wakes in the night to walk the house. I do this when my mind is working overtime, but only when it concerns the boys. Our materinal strings run deep! The whole crew is lucky to have you as their mom! Let me know if it gets easier with each flight! πŸ™‚

  11. My mom

    My mom still gets all teary-eyed when she talks about my first day of kindergarten where we pulled up to the school and I turned around and said, “Mom, I can do it by myself.” She of course went in with me anyways, but my independence made her sad for the rest of the day.
    It’s a good thing I’m the oldest and she has two more to keep her busy when I leave for college in two years.

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