Life does sure insist on happening.
This weekend, while I am in San Diego for the Conference, my daughter will be putting herself on a plane for musical theater camp. She will take a plane to Newark, and then a bus. We have reviewed the itinerary maybe one hundred times. She is really tired of me. "Do you have your ticket? The confirmation number of the bus service? The notarized permission form? Death certificate? Money? Do you know what to do if there is a glitch? Do you have the Marriot number in San Diego?" And on and on.
The poor girl.
It is not her separation anxiety that is at issue. We are both clear about that. It is mine. Since December 2000, it has always been mine. The first time she went to overnight camp I struggled not to go to bed for the two weeks. The next year it did not get any better. The third year, it was for a month, and as I walked to my car having said my 30th good bye, I met her counselor. "I think Anneke is very sad," I wept, "and she might need some consolation from you". And then I just sobbed.
This kind, young, cute-as-a-button counselor reached out to me and patted me on the shoulder... "I know it’s hard Mrs. Elmhirst, but you will be fine."
Ah, humbled again. My tears dried up and I regained my composure, not wanting to appear less put-together than a young woman 30 years my junior.
I am thrilled about this trip to San Diego. I am following the weekend with my first vacation in over 9 years. By vacation I mean, no child. I will be in a boat sailing among the San Juan Islands with my geologist.
But it is a mixed bag as always. Anneke is growing up and our family that started as three, and then became abruptly two, feels to be getting even smaller as she spreads her wings and puts miles between us.
I know that it is right. But at the same time, it makes me a little sad.