Friday was a bittersweet day. Our oldest daughter left to study abroad for a semester at a university in the country of Turkey. It will be 4 long months for me...4 glorious months of adventure for her. It was such a weird, happy, sad, exciting, stressful, and wonderful morning as we drove to the airport.
I went over the checklist, and we checked it twice:
Do you have your passport?
Do you have your computer charger?
What about your wallet?
Do you think we should get you some more cash?
Nope, I think I have plenty.
Toothbrush! Did you pack your toothbrush?!
Yes, Mom, and toothpaste. (Eyes rolling ever so slightly now.)
Socks? What about socks? Shower shoes? And a rain jacket? You know you'll need a rain jacket!
Yes! Yes!! YES!
Did you pack underwear?
Gah, Mom! Yes! I got everything.
Wait!! Are you sure you have your passport??
Once we had confirmed (and reconfirmed) that, yes, indeed all necessary documents and undergarments were securely packed, away we went. Part of the two hour drive was filled with laughter and nervous chatter. Part of the journey, we just sat quietly thinking and wondering about what the coming months would be like.
As fate would have it (and in spite of my OCD list checking) we still had to make a last minute pit stop at Target -- the strap on on my girl's purse broke literally on the way to the airport, so we had to find a quick make-do. We rushed in and out of Target in record time and were quickly back on the road. Fortunately we had time to spare because, even with the unplanned diversion to Target, my girl and I arrived at the airport no less than four hours early. Yes, folks, let's take a moment to let that to sink in. Four. Hours. Early. Clearly, I must have been nervous about traffic. Or maybe every clock in our house was off by 2 hours. Or perhaps I was just hyped up on little sleep and copious amounts of caffeine. Whatever the reason, I wanted to make doubly sure we got to the airport in plenty of time so my girl didn't have any stress about missing her flight. Apparently there was not much of a chance of that.
Anyway, we got her luggage checked in and the reality of the "adventure" began to really set in. Then the tears started to flow. The ticket counter attendant took pity on me and offered us a pass so that I could wait with my girl at the gate until her flight took off. Tell me there aren't nice people left in this world! Plus, the ticket attendant probably took pity on my daughter too when she noticed that I had gotten her to the airport four...hours...early. So I escorted my world traveler through security and to the gate, and we spent a little more quality time laughing and talking before her flight.
After lots of hugs and a tearful goodbye, I sent her on her way, and then I made my way out of the airport. At least I thought I was making my way out of the airport. I walked and walked and walked and walked and tried to look like I knew where I was going like an experienced world traveler. I finally found the exit just as I was beginning to wonder if I might still be wandering the halls of the Atlanta airport when my girl gets home in June.
I'm proud of these kids of mine and admire them in their quests for excitement and adventure... but, in all honesty, finding my way out of the actual airport was enough excitement and adventure to last me for a while!!