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Because she shows me her vulnerability more than the boys do, it is harder to wave goodbye at the airport when my daughter sets off on her foreign exchange trip. The boys were all bravado and looking ahead, but the girl, even at fifteen, is still a little girl.

She was tempestuous the last few days, and my husband and I shared knowing glances as she made her way through the packing and planning and worries about leaving home and familiarity. One day she broke down in tears over her fears, but my reassuring words quieted her. I told her I knew for sure she would face challenges, face difficult situations where she did not know what to do. I told her I knew for sure there would be days of great excitement and fun and thrills. And I told her that in the end I felt sure she would be so pleased with herself for taking this big step and daring to try something new and unknown.

And somehow, hearing me say all that made it okay.

Still we cry to say goodbye, knowing what we do already about each other and our lives together, and at the same time imagine a month ahead when we reunite and share even more.

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