Tuesday, August 10, 2010
This morning we drove Katie to the airport and put her on a plane. No, we did not let her fly alone; she went with six girls and one chaperone, all converging with one goal in mind- Peter Sklar's Beginnings Workshop. Six months of mixed anticipation, careful planning and diligent preparation have finally culminated on this big day, Katie's birthday. It is the first time she will venture out without us.
Last night I reminisced about the first time I left Katie at Mother's Day Out. She was two-years-old. I was getting ready to have Andrew and thought Katie might enjoy spending a few hours with kids her age. I reluctantly dropped her off that first day and proudly watched as Katie put her arms around the screaming children and offered comfort. I was so amazed...was leaving Katie going to be that easy?
I drove around the block and then snuck back inside to check on Katie. I peeked through the window and saw her sitting on the assistant's lap, listening to a story. A sense of relief swept over me as I tiptoed back to the car. The next time I dropped her off was different, though. Katie cried and did not want me to go because she knew we would be apart. Now Katie was leaving for a week, and I would be the one crying.
As you can guess, I have been frantically trying to get Katie ready while swimming in these mixed emotions. What if she gets homesick? What if she hates it? What if she picks up negative behaviors? What if the kids are mean to her, or the instructors ignore her? What if...
I won't entertain you with the horrible thoughts I've had about Katie flying without us; you can probably guess what they are. My poor father tried to alleviate my fears by offering a book for me to read by Greg Iles.
"What's it about?" I asked.
"Well, this huge airliner lands safely at an airport and then they find all the passengers dead...even the pilots."
The look my mother gave him could have melted ice.
"I don't want to read a book like that!" I said.
My mom piped in, "Of course she doesn't. I'm so sure, why would you even bring that up to a mother whose child will be flying without her?" (More mean look).
"I just wanted her to know that the plane landed safely without the pilots, that's all."
Some difference this is between men and women, huh? I heard men are like waffles (very matter-of-fact/compartmentalized) and women are like spaghetti (emotions and feelings wiggling all over the place), but that is a post for another time.
As Pete and I watched Katie disappear through security, my heart raced. I looked through that window so similar to the one I stood behind when she was two, and I did what any good spaghetti would do- I knocked on that window with both fists, hoping for one last wave goodbye. I heard Pete mumble as he pulled me away, "It's time to go."