It was about a year ago that we, the parents of then-soon-to-be eighth graders, were summoned to an informational meeting at school about the eighth grade trip to Washington D.C. It seemed like the trip was forever and a day away. Well, forever and a day went by in a flash (during which Kevin managed to earn more than $500 towards the cost of the trip through tutoring, babysitting, and lemonade stands), and yesterday evening we dropped him off at school where the participating eighth graders (now soon-to-be high school freshmen) would board a charter bus that would take them to the airport for a red-eye flight to the other side of the country.
I am probably overly protective; I know this about myself. It is difficult to strike a balance between trying to stand between my kids and harm’s way, and allowing them to spread their wings enough to make them well-rounded, resilient people. There was a time when I would not have fathomed to the idea of sending my kid three thousand miles away without me or Michael. But there comes a time when you realize that it’s time to start letting go a smidge.
Kevin is not one for big, emotional send-offs, so I restrained myself, gave him a hug, and waited until I turned away to let the tears fall. We left him there with his friends, and saw the charter bus coming up the street as we pulled away. Sometime in the wee hours of the morning, Michael whispered to me that their flight had landed safely on the east coast; he got up in the middle of the night to check online.
A whole week he’ll be gone. He’s going to see a thousand things and experience things even I have not seen or experienced. I know he’ll come back a little older, a little more worldly. I’m really excited for him, but the house seems a little quiet and a little empty with him gone.