Monday, July 14, 2008
There She Goes!
There she goes
There she goes again
Racing through my brain
And I just can't contain
This feeling that remains
There she blows
There she blows again
Pulsing through my veins
And I just can't contain
This feeling that remains...
As I type this, Petra is putting the finishing touches on her packing. She is on her way, today, to Europe for three weeks. She is a Student Ambassador for a venerable educational program that first, provides kids with an extensive learning process stateside, and then ships them all over the world to engage with people of different cultures. Petra is going to (in order) Ireland, Wales, England, France, Belgium and the Netherlands, as a part of a delegation of 40 teenagers.
In preparation for this she has learned a lot about one aspect of one host country, she has presented her learning to the group and heard their presentations, she has read widely, she has engaged in group-building activities. And she has shopped.
I should say, we have shopped. The dress code for this particular group prohibits jeans and shirts with writing on them. It is not an exaggeration to say that, until about a week ago, that pretty much described Petra's entire wardrobe. No longer. Thanks to two trips to Target and the kind folks at CitiBank, Petra is now outfitted with colorful polos and t-shirts, walking shorts, khakis, new underwear, socks, a baseball cap, and two adorable hippie-ish skirts. She's ready, clothing-wise.
And she's ready in every other sense. Guess who's not ready? That would be mom.
I have visions of planes falling out of the sky. I have fears that this precious life that I have been so privileged to nurture will be snuffed out, and that her last emotions on this planet will be terror. This is my particular neurosis, I realize, but. Don't we all assume we're safe, charmed? Don't we think that if we are good, if our kids are good, they'll be safe?
I don't believe that any more. Last night I prayed, "God, I know I have no right to ask you to keep her safe. Children all over the world have terrible things happen to them, all the time. I have no right to expect special treatment, But I am asking that. Keep both my children safe." (Larry-O is in Beautiful Green Mountain State for three weeks, taking a class).
So. Here we are. She's nearly 16. She's brilliant, accomplished, creative. And I can't protect her.
The title of this post, and the song lyrics above, are from a song Petra and I first heard together, watching the remake of The Parent Trap (speaking of not being able to protect your kid.... poor Lindsey!)... When you hear it, the twins are arriving at camp (each unbeknownst to the other), and you just know they are going to have an adventure. That is what I wish for my girl: an adventure. Go, Petra!