Growing up and away…

December 29, 2010

My eldest daughter boarded a plane yesterday. She will join another family. One with different rules and routines. And she will speak another language. She was chosen to participate in a month-long french emergence exchange in Tahiti. As you can see by the photo, she was very excited to go. (She’s the smiley one on the right).

I have a dear friend back in the states who thinks I am insane. She cannot believe that I would put this child, this treasure, my heart on a plane and send her to a place I have never been, to a family I have never met. She listed all of the what ifs… This brought up the “Am I a good parent?” question but not for long. I believe that good parents encourage children to follow their bliss, and support them in doing so.

But this trip has blindsided me a bit. Not because she will be with another family. Not because she will be experiencing a whole other culture which I know very little.

My Problem? That she will master a language which I do not know. One I will never know. She will be able to talk in front of me and I will have no idea what she is saying.  It feels so unnatural.

I look at her and think yes, it was just yesterday when she was a newborn baby scooting across the floor. Yes, It was just yesterday that she had biting issues on the playground. Yes, it was just yesterday that she learned to read. And ride a bike. And now she is a yesterday away over the dateline, speaking another language.

She will have opportunities and experiences I have never had. Ones that I cannot relate to or imagine. She is outgrowing me. It makes me happy and sad at the same time.

3 Responses to “Growing up and away…”

  1. That happened to me when my oldest went away to George Wythe University. She didn’t come back speaking a new language but she came back knowing things about thinking that I didn’t know. She could distill thoughts down to their core in a conversation. I felt outclassed, small town…..It took some time to stop feeling intimidated by my own daughter. Strange isn’t it that we sometimes tie our value up in the oddest things – like knowing more about everything than our children. Today she is a tremendous resource for me and I am glad she can do and knows what I don’t. We help each other out. It works.

  2. such a beautiful post – had me in tears (of course). what a wonderful mumma you are, Kim. she will know different things than you, it’s true but believe me – a child who travels far, far away away, will always need the advice and support of her wise mumma.

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