On Sending my Daughter off to Africa

JANE

My baby girl (Becky, who is 19) is now southern Africa.  And she’s there for the next 10 months.  I’m still trying to take in that information, so I thought it would help to write about it!

We took her to the plane last Sunday morning (6 a.m.!), and I swore I was going to be brave just long enough to get her on the plane.  I almost made it.  My eyes started tearing up when I saw her being friendly and cute with the other passengers in line to go through security with her.  She was starting conversations with at least three different people.  That’s just how she is.

After putting her on the plane at the Charlotte airport, our sadly diminished family group went to the local IHOP for breakfast and cried into our pancakes.  It was a bleak morning.  My spirits rose when I got a text message: “I’ll call you when I get to Africa.”  How ridiculous is that?

So she’s gone for a year of study and I’m trying to adjust.  I’m adjusting to the fact that I won’t see her for the next long ten months.  I have to keep from thinking about that one.  I’m adjusting to the fact that if she gets sick or needs help in some way (she loses her passport/her debit card/the key to her dorm room/her computer/her camera/whatever), I can’t do a damn thing about it.  I can’t get to her quickly—no matter what.  The shortest I could get there would be 19 hours of travel—and that’s assuming that my passport is up-to-date!

BECKY

So, I’m  adjusting…  I have to say that I don’t know how all those mothers survived who shipped their children off to cross a lone ocean back in the days before airplanes or computers, not knowing when they would even hear from them to know they were safe on the other side.  I feel incredibly lucky to be in the generation that has Skype, so that I can talk to her at night and see her face and hear about her eating her first fried grub or seeing her first baboon.  How cool is that?

We’ll all get through it, and I’m sure she’ll have a fabulous year.

And here I thought it was hard raising teenagers, but this makes it look like a piece of cake!

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