I'm a wreck just sending my baby overseas by herself for the first time! Yes, this wee one (in the pink blanket)...
packed suitcases, boarded a plane and is somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean as I type this post. Okay, yes, the baby really looks more like this these days:
Tonight was the beginning of *the* big trip. She has been counting down since February, when we first mentioned the idea. My friend, Berta, headmistress of the International School of Iceland, had invited her to spend a week with her family. Berta was an amazing support and friend to us while we were in Iceland, and her kids hit it off magically with my kids. I couldn't imagine a better way for Cait to celebrate Confirmation, the end of 8th grade or forget about the beginning of her father's year away.
We applied for a new passport, bought the ticket, dug out the luggage, bought new clothes and did not forget the swimsuit (oh, the hot pots....). She started loading up last night while simultaneously doing several loads of laundry. Despite oversleeping a bit (guess no worries about jet lag), she was ready to go by the time the babysitter arrived.
We enjoyed a lovely dinner and then arrived at Dulles nearly 3 hours early (note to self: waaayyy too early). This gave us plenty of quality time which translated into Cait hitting both Cinnabon and Dunkin Donuts. Whatever, right?
We arrived at the gate an hour early (an hour and 15 minutes before the plane arrived) and just relaxed and chatted (you knw, played angry birds and watched Harry Potter). It was so odd to look at her and realize that in just a bit, she would board the plane by herself and would then be off to a week of visiting old friends, hanging in lava fields, swimming in any kind of weather, and horseback riding, to name a few. I began to wonder if I was truly sad or just extremely jealous. Then they announced it was time to board.
Technically, she went on a bit early. Guess she had either that Saga Class look to her or like someone who needed a little extra time. Either way, I accompanied her nearly to the boarding pass check and she (appropriately) looked extremely embarrassed when I suddenly threw my arms around her and told her to have fun. Yes, I could have cried.
After all, not only was my baby going off on her own, but she was doing something I never could have done at her age. I never had this type of travel opportunity and even if one had presented itself, I wonder if I could have gone through with it. Despite being only 13, she has an amazing sense of self and independence. I was so proud that she was not fretting about traveling overseas by herself, but only mildly concerned if she would fill out the customs form correctly and remember where to go (my bet is yes). I'm so excited that she has an opportunity like this and have a feeling it will be an experience she will never forget.
I know it is an one that will never fade in importance for me. It's the type that makes you realize just how much knowledge your children have soaked up and how they capable they really are (not that you didn't know that already). She was not afraid to pack up and leave her safe world behind for a week (granted, trading it for another safe world), and for that, I am so incredibly proud. Have fun, Cait! Hopefully, this is just the door to a whole new world of traveling for her, and for that, I am once again so grateful....and just a wee bit envious?!