Inexplicably Sad & Also Scary

August 1, 2011

This morning, WD and I dropped Lemon off for her long drive to Canada with her crew team.  She had painstakingly packed her duffle, her day bag, her cox box. (I just love saying that.  I often forget that those who are unfamiliar with crew and rowing think I’m being ridiculously perverse. I’m newly-familiar enough that I still get a kick out of it.  Like yesterday evening when I said to her, “Boy, we sure do talk about cox a lot around here!” She rolled her eyes at me.)

There were tons of emails flying around in the few days before their departure.  What to pack, when to meet, what to bring (craploads of money, it turns out; even though we already PAID craploads of money for her to be going at all).

So on Saturday, when yet another email from the coach came through, I wasn’t too surprised.

But the content forced me to find a chair to sit down in.

Lemon hasn’t been at most of the practices this week, because her day camp had a musical performance on Thursday and Friday nights.  So we were somewhat out of the loop. While the email professed to be an update, it was the first I’d heard about the topic:

A girl on the team lost her mother during the week.  The coach said it was very “sudden and unexpected circumstances.”  We have since heard that it may have been a horrible reaction to a bee sting.  But we don’t know for certain. It definitely threw me for a loop, to imagine something like that.  I think it did Lemon, too.  (Based on the text messages she was sending me from her friend’s house during the evening that we found out what happened.)  The girl’s situation is made even sadder, because her mother was a single mom, and there appears to be no other family available to step in.  The decision was made that she will still go on the trip.  That it’s what she wants, and how she will best transition.  The team is very ready to step up and be this girl’s family.  They feel heavy-hearted, but are full of love and compassion and support. They have outstanding leadership both within the team and from the coaching staff and parent chaperones.

Somehow, this situation makes it a little harder to say goodbye to Lemon, to let go as she is getting on the bus to go 8 or 9 hours away, passport required.  I know this is silly.  She is someone who is well-versed at getting on a plane alone.  She’s spent 7 and 8 weeks away from me, visiting with her father in the middle of the country.

But, still.  People lose people.  Suddenly, unexpectedly, inexplicably.

And Lemon’s not going to her father’s.  She’s going to Canada: international phone calls and text messages cost an arm and a leg. There will be no step-mother there to cook for her.  She’s staying in a dorm with 4 other high school students, and they are responsible to shop for and cook their own meals. (!!!)  which is, of course, very good for her, empowering, and perfect to help her grow up and become an independent person.  She also has some really stellar upper classwomen in her suite, and they are good examples and mentors.

See, everything is FINE.




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