Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Leaving the nest

Peanut goes to Washington
London, ON, June 2011

The house has been strangely quiet this week, ever since Dahlia left for Washington on her school's Grade 8 trip on Sunday. Little brother, Noah, has been wandering around the house, not quite sure how he should fill his free time now that he doesn't have his big sister to share it with. He looks up to her like I wish every little brother would. On Sunday, as he waited for her to e-mail us that she had gotten there safely, he idly brushed the dog's head and quietly told him he missed her.

For his part, the dog isn't quite himself, either. She usually walks him in the morning before leaving for school, so his morning routine's been off just a bit. He hangs around the kitchen while everyone grabs breakfast and loads up backpacks, unsure of who he should beg to take him. Every once in a while, he saunters back into the living room and toward the stairs leading to the second floor. I wonder if he thinks she'll magically appear.

This is her first trip away from family, her first time so far from home without us. She isn't alone, of course. She's with her teachers and her classmates, and her e-mails home tell of an action packed schedule, a happy-but-tired group of kids, and an adventure none of them will soon forget. It's the kind of life experience every 13-year-old wants. It's the kind of life experience this particular young lady will uniquely make the most of. Will somehow make hers.

She'll be home late tomorrow, no doubt changed by the experience of seeing so much so intensively so far from her usual routine. I'm guessing she will have grown. I'm guessing it won't be the last time. I'm guessing this is the way it should be.

Until then, though, I'm guessing I miss her more than a little bit, too.

Your turn: Do you remember your first trip away from home? Do tell!

One more thing: Last chance to squeeze in a family-themed pic before the new Thematic theme goes live tonight at 7:00 Eastern. Head here for family. Or hang around till the new one pops up. We'll make the tea.


lissa said...

What a wonderful experience for your daughter - and, I daresay, for you as well. She gets to be away from home for the first time, in a city that is very exciting and beautiful. And you get to give her those wings parents are given for their kids (but we aren't told we have those in our bag till way after those babies are born).

Last year, Sam went away for the first time as well; he'd slept away from home but never out of town. He went to Pennsylvania for a week's hockey camp experience, and left the morning of my birthday. I cried (yeah, I cried) after he left, missing him all day, and then settled into the same quiet-house unease that you described. Our dog also missed him, and even his big brother was out of sorts for a bit.

Sam called home that night, and again the next day (until the parents who had carpooled him down dropped off the kids at the camp and headed back to Montreal). I didn't hear from him again till 4 days later, but I felt like my mom, whose excited voice I could suddenly remember hearing when my brother (the Traveler in our family) would call home on any one of his numerous sojourns away from home.

Sam's homecoming, a week later, was as I suspect Dahlia's will be tomorrow...the anticipation of her arrival will be palpable, she'll seem taller and more mature in every way, she may or may not want to spill every detail right away, and the next morning when she is back in her own bed upon awakening, you'll breathe just a little easier.

These moments are the watershed ones for everyone involved...and you've written it to perfection. As always! Thanks, Carmi!

cyberabbi said...

Welcome to my world!

MorahMommy said...

I cannot wait for her to come home. After you, she is my best friend and I have I missed her like crazy.

I know she has had an amazing experience but I have never gone 24 hours without hearing her voice, let alone 5 days.

In truth these last few days have gone by even quicker than I thought they would. I can imagine the for Dahlia and her classmates it just zipped by.

I can't wait to hear about everything and hug that young woman. I know that this is her first of many experiences as she spreads her wings.

Have a safe trip Monkey-Girl!


Catherine said...

First trip away from home? I was about ten and flew with my twelve year old brother to visit an aunt and uncle in another city.
On the plane the air hostess wanted to escort us to the terminal, and we wanted to manage by ourselves (our aunt and uncle would be waiting at the gate) so, as we had spotted a close friend of my parents' on the same flight we told the air hostess we would go with the family friend and we would be fine. Then we ignored the friend and made our own way to our waiting relatives!
I don't think the airlines these days would have let us, too worried about what might go wrong and about liability, I imagine.

sunflowerkat said...

These first short excursions are as much a growing experience for the parents as the child. They're necessary, so we can prepare. Having had two of mine go away to college, I'm thankful for the overnight trips and sleepover camps that eased me in to having their rooms undisturbed for weeks at a time. It's the natural order of things, but it makes me want to stop the clock all the more.