I just took my baby girl to the airport to go on her first trip to see her aunt and cousins. Its the first time she has ever been on an airplane by herself, and it is the first time she has ever been away from home, and more importantly, from me!
My family has been asking me for a long time to let her come and visit, but I had been so reluctant and fearful. However, now at almost 16, I knew I could no longer hold the tight grip I had placed on her. Yes, realistically, I know many kids go away to family, friends, and camp . They even start at a very early age!
I can remember my brother and I traveling to see our father on a Grey Hound bus from the age of 9 years old. So, its not like I don't know that it is possible, attainable, and safe.
Regan was ready to take this next step in her independence. I was not. I checked her bags the night before, and rechecked them in the morning. I went over every scenario with her on the way to the airport.I confirmed her seats, flight, and layover information. With the occasional, "Mom,I'll be fine!", I still wasn't convinced. How will she managed without me? How will I manage without her? Its only ten days, I keep repeating to myself. I promise I won't cry, or I'll embarrass her.
After the long process of going through security we reach the gate. I can tell from her face, the excitement had turned to doubt, and I immediately feel guilty for having imposed my fear on her. I remind myself, that she is watching me, for my response. She needs my "ok", my reassurance. As much as she is ready, I since the hesitation, if only for a brief second. My mom mode kicks into high gear. I will not let her see me cry.I get her to the gate, "I am so excited for you! You are going to have so much fun!" , I manage weakly, but tried to say it with conviction. She looks at me, searching for truth in my eyes. She is making sure I am going to be okay. Once she is reassured, she quickly grabs her bags, and gets in line. "Do you want me to take a picture?" She looks mortified, rolls her eyes,"really?? NO!" I smile.
Now, I can see in her face that the hesitation has turned to anticipation, and I don't want to take that away from her. I watch her walk down the corridor, trying to peak around the overly tall gentleman right behind her. She doesn't even look back. Once she is out of sight, then and only then I let out the tears I have been holding back. I swipe them away with my jacket sleeve.Nolan and Liam are staring at me.I look down at them and smile. We walk away. Every now and then I glance back, knowing I won't see her, but checking anyway.
I take hold of both of my boys hands, and we head towards the tram.I wonder what it will be like when they are also ready to leave home for the first time. Will it be easier? less painful? I doubt it. I may be able to accept it more, but I know the heaviness on my heart will be the same. But, for now, I won't allow myself to think that far into the future, I only want to focus on the next 10 days.
Watching her get on that plane, was another step towards her future. Letting her go was another step towards my growth. For her this trip is about independence, for me its about leaning on Whom I Depend. She will dwell in the happiness of freedom, and family. I will dwell in the House of my Lord and Savior. She will be comforted by her Aunt and cousins. I will be comforted by my Comforter. Yes, we are both moving forward, towards our future, hers is an all new beginning and I am realizing that mine has just begun!