Planes, trains and boats (and I’m not on any of them)July 28, 2013
This past week, I put my Emma on a plane. Ballsy of me, ballsy of her; the whole trip is quite ballsy:
She is now in Paris. Navigating the Metro, the Eiffel Tower, figuring out which museums to see. She’s not with a group or on an organized trip. It’s just her and a friend, making their way.
I’m not surprised that when she called today, she seemed a bit subdued. Or that she expressed some concern about finding their way outside of Paris to Versailles “on their own.” (her words.)
They’re staying with family friends, so they aren’t completely adrift, but I think that having this time to plan, to execute, to budget – on their own – is an interesting wake up call. It responds nicely to the exclamations of “I am an adult! I can make my own decisions!” that were creeping into her arguments before she left. Arguments for a later curfew, mostly.
She’s not an adult. One more year of high school, and lots more years to mature.
Yet, I’m happy that we can provide for her an experience that will help her to grow into an adult.
She’s spending a week in Paris, and then a week in the countryside, staying with her friends’ parents’ in-laws. There, they will hike, they will swim in a lake, they will milk some cows. And I will be checking my phone, my emails, my growing number of grey hairs, much less.
Meanwhile, the 15 year old is safely ensconced in her remote overnight camp for a month. Well supervised, well sunscreened, and beautifully cut off from internet and television:
Last year, David and I fell down on our job of sending her letters from home. At her camp, each “session” is two weeks, and we are allowed to visit on the mid-point day. Before I knew it, the first session was almost over, and I hadn’t sent her a SINGLE letter. This was horrible. Wretched. Terrible. Bad. We started getting letters that said “why haven’t you written me?” and “I can’t believe I haven’t gotten even ONE letter? Is everything okay?” We did better after that, but it didn’t reduce the scarring. (Fortunately, she was having a fabulous time, and this didn’t impact her experience … but it gave her a LOT of ammunition to complain.)
This year, we’re working to fix it. We sent her postcards from the town right outside the camp on the day we dropped her off, and we’ve been alternating letters and packages EVERY DAY since. And we EACH send something every day. I’m hoping I can erase her memories of last year. I’ve sent her, so far, temporary tattoos, a purple pen, nailpolish, stickers for her nails, and 2 letters. David has sent her books. I have some other little trinkets to send over the next few weeks.
As I’ve said here before, my kids are theatrically inclined. They do musicals and plays, and Emma is now in the high school’s [very competitive, not that I'd brag] Improv Troupe. Julez’s camp does a musical, too. They work on it for the full month, and perform during the last week. Last year, the musical was Seussical, and she was the Cat in the Hat. This year, it’s The Little Mermaid, and she wrote to say she is Sebastian, the …. lobster? Sadly, because her camp is 3 hours away, and on an island that can only be accessed by a boat; and because parents simply aren’t invited – we can’t see this musical. But I take solace in knowing that I will hear the songs for months, during Juliette’s showers. So I’ll have some sense.
David and I are enjoying our temporarily empty nest. I’m on the verge of very intense trial prep, but so far things are under control enough that my weekends are untouched. Yesterday we went and saw TWO movies, and then had some quick, cheap, delicious tacos for dinner out, and then came home and watched West Wing for a few hours. Wild and sexy, us two. Today I’m thinking of organizing my home office, so that perhaps one day it will be at the point where I don’t feel that I need to close the door and hide it from all visitors. We’ll see how that goes.