Friday morning at nine o’clock she is far away
Waiting to keep the appointment she made…
– John Lennon & Paul McCartney
If you have been reading along you know that my daughter left for semester abroad last week. I cannot put into words how wonderful it was to have her home this last month. The teenager that went off to college is long gone and a lovely, grounded, charming young woman came home in her place. She is all grown up.
The day she was leaving I came upstairs to check on her last minute packing. There I found her carry-on in the hallway. And tucked away in between the hair mousse and the laptop, strapped in tight, was Chetley. Her main man since birth. Yes we realize ‘he’ is dressed in pink, many shades and patterns of it as a matter of fact as I have reconstructed his body on more than one occasion in the past 20 years.
If you know Jana personally, you surely know the Chetmeister. He has been through it all with her, the good and the bad. He sat perched on her bed at camp, from the first day as a nine-year-old to the last day as Senior Group Leader. When she was a frightened five-year-old going into the hospital for neurosurgery to ‘get her neck fixed’, good old Chet went with her and sported a bandage on the back of his neck till her stitches came out. He proudly went off to college with her… this bear is a Badger through and through. And if I am not mistaken, Jew that he is, I think he even followed along on Birthright to Israel last summer. All that considered I don’t know why I imagined he would stay behind while she embarked on the adventure of her lifetime.
I truly had this whole going abroad thing under control all along. Gary and I are both so happy that she is able to have this experience. Many parents asked me if I was sad or nervous about her going. I am surely neither. I love her wings and the fact that she loves to use them.
But standing there at the top of the stairs, hours before we left for the airport, the sight of that teddy bear with his arm around the laptop just about did me in. Jana then and now just flashed before my eyes. Right in front of the door she slammed so often as a preteen that the latch is loose, sat the evidence that she was all grown up; and not completely – all at one moment.
They call them comfort items. The stuffed animals or blankets that children form an attachment to and use to self-soothe when they are young. Why has no one invented a comfort item for the moms when they find themselves in a moment like this.
Oh, that’s right, they call that VODKA!