January 15, 2007

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Airport photo

Last night, my daughter teased me about how tense I was. "I'm only going to be gone for four months," she said. "And we'll talk every day over the internet. And you're coming to see me in March."

She was right, of course. And yet I still felt anxious.

I reminded her of how she felt when she had to go to kindergarten. She cried at the thought of being separated from me for three hours. At the kindergarten orientation, all the kids were supposed to go into one room, and the parents into a different room, and my daughter was just too shy to leave me. She sobbed and clung to me, and she ended up coming with me into the parents' room, the only child who wouldn't go off with the other kids.

Now, of course, our roles are reversed. She has transformed into a confident, self-assured, independent woman who is not at all nervous about living overseas for a semester. And I am the one with the separation anxiety. Oh, I am excited about her taking this trip, thrilled that she has this fantastic opportunity, but it is still difficult to let her go.

Late last night, just after we had had a nice candle ceremony in front of the fire, and we were talking about all the cool things she was going to see in Famous European City, she showed me the instant message Film Guy had just sent her. "WINTER STORM WARNING. TRAVEL ADVISORY IN EFFECT." The weather experts were predicting freezing rain, sleet, an accumulation of ice.

Freezing rain can make the woods beautiful, every twig and branch coated with shining ice. But it can also shut the airport down. And my daughter needed to make her flight out of Snowstorm City Airport so that she could get to Big City Like No Other in time for her overseas flight.

It turns out that the one thing that can make me more anxious than the thought of my daughter leaving is the thought that she might not be able to leave. So my separation anxiety disappeared over the more familiar worrying about the weather here in Snowstorm Region. And worrying about weather? We are used to that here. I slept fine last night.

I did wake up this morning to the sound of rain and sleet, which had turned the trees outside into drooping ice sculptures and the roads into slick surfaces. But my daughter had given herself seven hours of extra time in Big City Like No Other Airport, just in case something like this happened, and an hour delay would make no difference.

So she said goodbye to her sleepy brothers and listened to their last minute advice ("Don't let anyone know you're American," said Boy in Black, "Pretend you're Canadian. Everyone likes Canadians."). She'd said goodbye to my parents on Friday night, when my mother had her over for dinner, but we stopped on the way to the airport so she could say goodbye to her other grandmother. Then at the airport, she checked her luggage, hugged both my husband and me, and stepped into the security line. We stood and watched while she made her way through the line, gathered her things, and put her shoes and coat back on. Then she turned to wave goodbye one last time and disappeared around the corner.

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ah, jo(e). I don't want to believe you when you tell me that our kids grow up and away.

Chip said...

She's gonna have a great time!

raehan said...

Oh, I am so excited for her. It makes me feel like it was just yesterday when I took my first semester abroad. And yet, it was 20 years ago.

15 years from now, I will be saying, it seems like just yesterday that my daughter was in kindergarden (she is now) but.......

Congratulations, Jo(e) on a job well done.

Mother of Invention said...

She'll be fine just as you were when you went. A Life Circle for sure! You are indeed lucky to have all this. A really nice blog...warm and fuzzy!

Anonymous said...

Oh, it must have been hard to wave goodbye. She's going to have an amazing time :-)

Anonymous said...

She looks so much like mine from behind. How do these little girls go off with such confidence? My dd, who is not much bigger than when she really was a little girl, told me that she wrote in her school year abroad app for next year something about having covered much of the US last year (college in NOLA and Oregon, summer job in NC) but still not having made it abroad. I hope that yours has the best and most life-defining time ever.

Anonymous said...

Damn it! Why am I crying? ;-) I don't think I'll ever have to watch my cat get on a plane to go off to another country for four months!

She's going to have a fabulous time!

elswhere said...

You know, when I turned on the radio yesterday and heard there was a big storm in Snowstorm City, I immediately thought, "Oh, no! Will Jo(e)'s Wonderful Smart Beautiful Daughter be able to get her flight to the Big European City?"

I'm so glad to hear that she did.

May she have a wonderful, smart, beautiful time there.

landismom said...

Good luck and godspeed, Wonderful Smart Beautiful Daughter! Don't forget to send digital photos for your mom to post on the blog!

PPB said...

This is crazy. I'm all teary. I've never met your daughter nor do I anticipate sending anyone overseas in the near future. Nicely written. Be brave, Mama bear. She's going to have a blast.

jackie said...

Bon Voyage, Wonderful Smart Beautiful Daughter! I went abroad almost eight years ago and it continued to change my life for years afterward.

However aware I am of the realities of time, I read that paragraph about kindergarten, where my girls will be this fall, and still can't believe they will ever be old enough to fly away from me across great oceans. But when (if) they do, I hope they will go as confident and brave as your daughter will, jo(e).

Anonymous said...

What PPB said.

Anonymous said...

Bon voyage to her!

And comfort and peace to you.

kathy a said...

i'm all teary, too. she will have a wonderful time!

my baby daughter went for a month in japan, summer before last, and it was really hard to see her go. REALLY hard. we flew to the big tacky southern california city, where she was to meet her group and depart. once she was all settled with her group and they were doing shifts with checkin, and it was apparent i was the only parent hanging around, i left before i started a scene. i made it down a flight of stairs before crying my heart out. she had a great time.

in the fall, she'll be off to college -- at least an hour away, maybe a flight away. i think i'm ready, but know i'm not, really.

Anonymous said...

How can time pass so slowly and so quickly all at the same moment?
-PK

Anonymous said...

I'm not looking forward to the day one of my sons has to travel to so far away. It may happen sooner to us, since we do have family in a foreign country. I hope she has a great trip.

joy said...

Don't know if I'll ever experience this. I once wrote a poem that featured, in part an old woman staring at a slide. I wondered if she was remembering children long grown and I wondered if I'd ever do the same, experience the loss of children grown or stare at a slide wondering why I'd never had children and which ache would be harder...

angelfeet said...

That photo brought a lump to my throat. But I'm glad she's coming to experience something of London. Tell her to give me a shout if she needs to (yes, I know I don't really know you or your family but the offer is there) :)

Kathryn said...

As you know, the GoodinParts household is on standby too...But she won't need us. She'll be too busy having a great experience.
Hugs and loves to all of you, traveller and stay-at-homes xx

listmaker said...

I know just how you feel. I, too, was watching the weather report yesterday and wondering if your daughter would make her flights. Even though she allowed hours between flights, my daughter still missed her flight to London last semester due to weather delays. I'm glad your daughter's departure was smoother. She's going to have a wonderful time.

BrightStar said...

You are going to love your visit out there, aren't you!? I hope everything went well on her trip out. The comment about Canadians cracked me up!

Anonymous said...

There she goes...following in her mother's footsteps. So exciting and also a little bit sad...your first little birdie out of the nest.

timna said...

I'm still in denial. If yours can grow up and away, does that me mine have to too?

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post. You'll let us know when she's safely in, right?

jo(e) said...

I talked to her over the internet this afternoon. She has arrived safely and is very excited to be there.

Queen of West Procrastination said...

Have a good trip, Wonderful Smart Beautiful Daughter! Take Famous European City by storm!

viagra online said...

Leaving home is always tough, specially if there are kids trying to convince you that you cant go, that they are going to starve if you leave.