For the past week and a half, it has felt like we’ve been on a roller coaster, as we readied ourselves and middle child for her experience of a lifetime. When she was born some twenty-three years ago, I never imagined that one day she would leave to travel to the other side of the world. Going away family dinners were held, a lovely party at the Ping Pong Bar & Lounge put on by one of her best friends. Friends she hadn’t seen for ages, people she grew up with, came to wish her safe travels and good luck.
Always the adventurous one, unable to find a job at home, she looked overseas. Off to Seoul, South Korea to teach English as a Second Language for a year. So this morning after the alarm went off at 4 a.m., we gathered her luggage, just under the weight limit of fifty pounds, trying my best not to cry, knowing I will probably not see her for a year, we drove her to the airport.
When she lands in Seoul tomorrow, she will be fourteen hours ahead of our time. She will not have a phone, hopefully she can find free wi-fi to tell me she’s safe. I will try not to worry.
I thought I was ready, but I was wrong, as I sit here listening to albums, trying to hold back the tears.
You’re probably thinking I’m insane, I know my husband does, I mean, don’t all parents wait for that day when your children will move out? I know it is a loaded question. I look back at the pictures of when they were young, when they would just out of the blue hug you, run up and say I love you. I still get the hugs and the I love you’s often, but wouldn’t you like to go back and just watch them grow up again? I know I would.
Is she ready for her new life? I believe she is, we have hopefully given her the right tools, strength, courage, and love to help her make the choices that will bring her happiness. She can still call me anytime, even in the middle of the night, her bedroom will always be hers even if I use it for the time being as my sewing room.
I was reading Ned Hickenson’s blog earlier today about That time I organized an escaped hamster posse, which made me think of the things we do for our kids. Now his daughter had a hamster, well mine had a rat, courtesy of my sister. This was a lab rat, so he really wasn’t used to being handled, and had a tendency to bite you if you weren’t careful. He preferred his cage over us and pizza crusts.
We had the rat for about a year or two, when he started to develop these nasty tumors on his skin. The first time I took him to the vet, I was told they could remove them but most likely the tumors would return, and then I would have to make a more serious decision. We decided to let the vet remove the tumors, and basically hoped for the best. Well it was a few months later, the tumors reappeared, and this time, there were lots, so a decision was made to put the poor guy asleep since there was no real treatment, and he was now pretty much covered with them.
Being a big suck though, I decided we would lie to our kids. Not my most proudest parenting moment, but I was just not ready to tell our two girls, mommy is having the rat killed put down. So I took the rat to the vet, and when I came home without him, I lied. For years this worked, the girls believed he had died naturally. Eventually though, I couldn’t keep listening to them tell a story that wasn’t true, so I sucked it up, and told them the truth. Surprisingly they weren’t mad that I had put him asleep, I guess because they knew in their heart how ill he was, they were more upset that mom had lied.
Now there are parents out there right now, who are saying “OMG, how could you lie”. Well, I don’t have an answer, I just couldn’t tell them the truth at that moment.