I wrote this as a "radical revision" in my English Comp class. I radically revised the first paper I wrote for that class, which was a compilation of How I met the husband. This paper is written from my mom's perspective. Since I'm feeling lazy and worthless and thought I'd better post something on this poor blog, here you go.
I sat and blinked, bleary-eyed, as a sipped at my cup of coffee. It was nearly 6 o’clock on a warm Friday morning in June. The sun was already up, and I could hear my daughter in her bedroom, stuffing things into her suitcase and zipping it up. I was trying to wake up enough to drive her to the airport.
In a moment, she came down the hall, dragging her suitcase and small carry-on with her. She saw me and smiled.
“Are you awake?” she asked.
“Almost,” I replied, giving her a wan smile.
She grabbed the keys to my car and went to the garage to load up her luggage. My smile disappeared, and I stared into my dark pool of coffee. She needed to be at the airport by 6:30, and her flight was due for take-off at 7:30. I would be driving her to Indianapolis International and then seeing her off as she flew to Arkansas to stay for a week.
I wasn’t sure exactly how I felt about it, but I think “dread” was the best term to use. She had met a man over the Internet nearly five months before. I had met the husband, and I liked him immediately, but he lived almost 600 miles away. I could tell that Kelly adored him, and while I was happy for her, it also scared me to death.
“We need to go soon,” Kelly said as she came back into the house.
I nodded and finished up the rest of my coffee. She followed me as I took the empty cup to the kitchen sink.
“Are you okay?” she asked.
I nodded and fought back tears. I slipped on my shoes and held out my hand to her for my keys.
We were quiet during the drive to the airport, both of us listening to early morning radio. I glanced over at her and saw how young she looked, radiant and excited. She was young, too young, but she was eighteen, graduated from high school, and by all means, an adult. I wanted to tie her up in her room and never let her leave, but I knew I couldn’t do that. I knew I had to let her make this trip.
I helped her check in at the airport, and we went and found the gate she would be departing from. We found seats, and she offered to get me a cup of coffee while we waited. I handed her a couple of dollars and watched as she walked away from me.
She was happy, and in turn, I was happy for her. But I couldn’t shake the feeling that this trip, this small, seven-day trip, was the beginning to so much more. I had already thought about all of this before; she was in love with this man, he seemed to love her, they lived 600 miles apart. Not all of the math added up, and ever since Kelly had been young she had always wanted to move away and explore the country. And while I’m thinking Arkansas was never really at the top of her list, I knew her well enough to know that she had a decent reason to go there anyway.
Kelly came back with my paper cup of steaming coffee and handed it to me as she sat down. She kept glancing over at me with a worried look on her face.
“Really, are you okay?”
“Mostly,” I answered.
“You’re not acting okay.”
I sighed softly. How could I tell her? She was so happy, so excited. Why should I ruin a trip for her? How could I tell her I didn’t want her to go, not even for a week? That I was afraid that after this week long trip she would decide she wanted to stay there with him? How could I tell her it would break my heart if she left and moved away permanently?
“I’m just…sorry to see you go,” I offered.
“Oh, it’s only for a week!” she cried, smiling. “It’s not like I’m leaving forever!”
I knew I was worrying her by being so quiet, but I couldn’t help it. I couldn’t tell her everything I was thinking. Even though she was eighteen and fairly mature for her age, I knew she wouldn’t want me blubbering in the middle of an airport about how sad I was. I could also tell she was holding back some of her excitement for me. She was thrilled to be flying by herself for the first time, and she was excited to be seeing the husband again.
Our relationship had been a bit strained for the past year. She met the husband online a few months ago, and since then it had been a whirlwind. He had flown to Indiana to take her to her prom. She had been staying up into the wee hours of the morning to chat with him, either online or over the phone. If I questioned her, she was prone to blow up at me, using the good old standby of “You don’t understand me!” as a line of reasoning. And since our relationship was strained, she was kind of right. I had a pretty good idea of what she was feeling, but nothing was ever confirmed. I wasn’t sure what she was planning or what she was exactly thinking. All I knew was that she was in love, and kids in love can do crazy things, like moving far away from their parents.
They began announcing boarding for her flight. She stood up and grabbed her carry-on.
“Well,” she said, “I think this is it.”
I looked up at her. Eighteen-years-old, young, impressionable. My baby. I finally let the tears that had been threatening to escape flow.
“Mom! You can’t cry!”
I stood up and gave her a hug. She hugged me back fiercely.
“Can you call me when you get there?” I asked.
She told me she would call as soon as she landed and that she’d call later with her hotel room number. They announced her boarding row. She shifted her bag on her shoulder and grinned.
“Really, I have to go. That’s me.”
I grabbed her one more time and hugged her, telling her I loved her and to be careful and to call me and to be safe. She squeezed back.
And then I let her go.