A little taste of independence
Today, Zoe-Pascale (our daughter) flew with her 5th grade class to San Diego Sea Camp for 6 nights. It is the first time that she is away from both Jean and me for more than 2 days. It is the first time that we have been in our house together without her since she was born almost ten years ago. (I'm not sure if that says more about us or her).
To prepare for camp, I spent four hours on Saturday labeling every piece of clothing, sock, underwear, and item she was bringing. I've decided this is a ritual for the kids and parents to prepare them for the separation. As I labeled, a little bit of me had to let go. As we packed together, a little bit of her had to let go. In the corner of the suitcase, we stuck a photo of all of us along with a stuffed dog and a book-- each item symbolic of something she loved. That afternoon we all took a long walk holding hands and enjoying the time together as she told us how her 5th grade class was like one big family--- and she was going on a trip with her school family. What a wonderful way to feel about her class!
The night before she left we cuddled in bed, reading and snuggling and reminding her we would be sitting on her shoulders. Reminding ourselves she would be sitting on our shoulders.
Arriving at the airport at 7am she was high as a kite, excited and ready to go. Twenty sets of parents with coffee cups in their hands actively checked in their kids, and waved our final goodbyes at security (when did you last wave someone goodbye at security?) Twenty sets of parents saw how our kids had grown up. Just seven years ago they had all started Maternelle (K1 or preschool in the French system) together and now they were flying off without us. Today they were global travelers, each and every one, and leaving the nest for the first time on their own. What amazed us all was how strong, how eager, how excited they all were to go off with their "5th grade class family." A giant leap in independence.
For us, we are taking advantage of every "R" rated movie we can go see this week and the extra time we will have for the two of us to talk alone each night.
Other than that we will count the hours until we can pick her up again on Friday night and cuddle with her again.