Even though I’ve spent years ~ pretty much my children’s entire existence~ encouraging them to dream big, to spread their wings, to fly…..it's a bit of an ohmyfriggengoodness moment as I'm realizing now that they are really doing it.
As usual, reality and theory are two different things. It's like wanting to raise children who question things and don't blindly follow along~ the theory is great, but when they question you...well, not so much fun. Anywhoo, I wanted this kid to soar, and here she goes, taking a chunk of my heart along with her.
Barely a month after her 18th birthday, my Girl Child and her lifelong friend landed in Milan~ which is across countries and oceans~ it’s on another freaking continent for Goodness sakes.
It's farther than she's ever been, farther than I've ever been as a matter of fact, and they are on their own.
While they both technically meet the legal definition of adults, there are no actual grown ups along.
In the months leading up to their pending adulthood, the girls bought themselves plane tickets and Eurail passes with money they had earned themselves. They prepared madly for their grand adventure, with hours on the phone and skyping late into the night, planning routes, researching hostels and museums.
Their skills were impressive and their enthusiasm contagious~ I mean, they were going to Europe!!!! I haven’t managed to get myself to Europe yet! How could I not be both impressed and excited?
In the midst of working hard and saving toward her big goal, my Girl Child told me that she knew she would be broke when she returned from her trip, but that she would rather be broke and have gone to Italy than to have money in the bank and have never left town.
So, the time came, and the girls drove off into the rain to the international airport in the big city.
As the oldest of my offspring, this solo adventuring is new and unfamiliar territory for me as a mother.
My Little Girl Child is now halfway across the world, several time zones away. She is adventuring with her wonderful friend and having the time of her young life.
She texted me a picture of the “BEST MEAL OF MY ENTIRE LIFE!” (And yes, the all caps emphasis was hers) It was butternut squash and sage ravioli, although she noted that there were only exactly 8 of them on her plate. We laughed that she obviously wasn’t in Murica, where we routinely expect portions 4 times that size.
They traveled in the rain to Cinque Terre~ a series of colorful cliff side villages that we had never actually heard of prior to their planning this trip. Oddly enough, about a year ago, I made a large round hat box into a Dream Box for My Girl, decoupaging pictures and words from magazines into a collage of hopes and dreams for her future. It wasn't until she was well into planning her itinerary and had already read about and booked a train to Cinque Terre that she noticed that there on the side of her dream box was a photo I had glued down of that exact place. I love when cool things like that happen.
They went to Florence and Rome, met people, ate great food and saw amazing art and architecture.
They sent lots of beautiful pictures, including one (not so beautiful, but memorable anyway) of a statue they had read about before they left and hunted all over to see in person.
It was of a round older man who was naked and riding a turtle.
It makes you wonder what on earth inspires one to think of, let alone sculpt such a thing, as well as the many hours the artist had to spend on bringing this image into physical being. I mean, it's no quick sketch...this had to take a while. Why?
I'm including the picture below with the disclaimer that you can never un-see this.
I’m thankful for who she is, who she with, and that we live in a time where she can message me daily, and send photos and we can do free video chats and keep in touch while a world away.
Most of all, I’m thankful to be her mom.
Now they're in the last days of their adventure, and I'm looking forward to having my Girl back in the nest, even though I know this is just the first of her flights out into the great wide world. Yes, I'm a proud mama indeed.