My little girl is not so little anymore. I still vividly remember after she completed the fourth grade as we drove her up for her very first sleep-away camp experience. I remember looking at her and thinking- is it possible that we are sending this little sweet thing away for two whole weeks? I also remember during those first two weeks I’d see pictures the camp uploaded of her completing art projects, playing tennis and being privy to a private fireworks display and a BBQ to boot. Yes- while she was enjoying the pleasures of the Fourth of July I was busy mopping up the vomit that her little brother was intent on hurling in every nook and cranny of our abode.
I also remember feeling like our house was just so empty without her- and it was really the little things that I missed most like; having someone to fold the laundry and take care of my son…okay; I kid! But mainly I just missed seeing her face, having a little girl to pick out my outfits, watching her get a little bigger and bolder each day- and having someone so eager to share every last detail of their day and feelings with me as opposed to my son who when questioned about how his day was gives me the old eye roll and prompt “fine” response.
So of course when we FINALLY got a handwritten letter from her-I was expecting lots of run-on wordy sentences peppered with phrases like; I miss you so much, I love you, can’t wait to see you… and while she did sign it; Love ME ( yes she must be far too busy to spell out her entire name I mean there are cookies that need to be baked) the letter we got was- “Hi Mommy; Please send me a small package, Thank you- no peanuts please.” Well at least she was polite! And now as she plans to go away for 10 days abroad to The Netherlands as part of an International Student Exchange program well – we are busy packing and getting her essentials in order and I am already being read my orders of things she Doesn’t Want to Hear me Say When she’s about to Travel Abroad!
1. “You’re taking how many pairs of shoes?”
Being the mom of a teen girl who has a penchant for footwear I know that the last thing she wants to hear is that she has a weight limit on her baggage and that she will have to suffer through 10 days wearing only one pair of sneakers. While she is sitting in the corner rocking back and forth my husband is still trying to fully wrap his head around why anyone would even need more than one pair of sneakers in their life and in their shoe wardrobe period.
2. “Call me everyday”
According to my teen, “I don’t want to hear you say call me everyday because I’m finally free and I don’t want you hovering over me from another country.” Of course as her mother, I am crestfallen to hear these words come out of her mouth but by the same token I remember being 16 and the last thing on my mind was calling my parents. So what’s a mother to do one who normally texts her daughter 18 times a day regaling her with our dogs daily poop schedule? I don’t know I’m obviously going to have to true detective style stalk every snapchat and Instagram of hers and other kids on the trip to get my daily dose of my daughter’s comings and goings.
3. “Finish all three required reading books on the plane rides there and back”
While you are hoping that your daughter uses her flight time wisely to focus on her schoolwork according to my teen the last thing she is thinking about is literature on those planes. In fact she says she’d rather have her seat back be kicked incessantly by a petulant toddler for 12 hours straight on her international flight than open a book.