Friday, July 2, 2010

Missing One

Josie is finishing up a week of karate day camp today. She's worked really hard on her kata, and is testing for three stripes today. Ordinarily, such an achievement would lead to our taking her out to dinner or at least for an ice cream, but today when we pick her up, we'll be taking her straight to her friend H's house, along with a suitcase, instead. She's been invited to go with H (who is an only child other than a few grown step-siblings) and her family to Myrtle Beach, SC, for the next week. They're leaving at around 3am tomorrow in hopes of getting past DC and well into VA before the real traffic of the weekend begins. I'm not sure how long it will take them to get there, but I imagine it will be until evening.

This isn't the first time we've let her go away with another family - when she was 7 we let her to go Disney with her best friend's family for a week because her friend was, again, the only young child, and we knew we weren't going to be able to afford to go anytime soon, if ever. We're also completely comfortable with the family she's going away with - H is a very nice, polite child and her parents are extremely involved, and if anything H is overprotected, so I'm not worried about their ability to care for Josie for a week. Plus, Josie is a smart girl, and isn't a source of trouble for anyone no matter who she's with, so I'm confident to let her be with other families.

Still, now that the moment's here, I'm freaking out a little. I know things will probably be fine, and she will stay safe, and there's nothing for me to worry about. That's the rational me. The irrational me has been trying very hard not to think about car pileups and middle-of-the-night phone calls and kidnappings and drownings. I know this all links back to my nephew's death. Before Ryan died so suddenly, and in such a freak-accident way, I wasn't really a person who imagined the nearly-unimaginable, but now that the unimaginable has happened I find myself frightened of the smallest things where the kids are concerned. It took me a long time after he died to feel comfortable with them out of my sight overnight. I was basically OK last year when she went with a friend's family to a local commercial camping ground for a week, because there was almost no driving, and it was close enough that I could get there easily if anything happened. MB, though, is a long ways away if anything should happen, and a very long drive on a holiday weekend when thousands of other people will be traveling as well.

Still, in with the good air and out with the bad air. I know I need to let her do things, and she's so fearless. I don't want to pass on my worries to her. She's getting older, and I want to encourage her sense of freedom and adventure, both because I think it's good for her and because deep down, I hope giving her more room will cause her to rebel less violently later. I was so constricted as a child, and I want something completely different for her. Even if I will miss her beyond words (especially after barely seeing her this week because of camp), and might need to practice my deep breathing with a paper bag. She's so amazing, and I want to let her fly.


d e v a n said...

Aw, that would be hard for me too! I hope she has fun!

Kelsey said...

I'm sure the week will fly by. It's great that you can let her do that. W/ H's peanut allergy I wonder if I'll ever feel okay about her sleeping over somewhere, let alone going away on a trip!

You'll have so much fun hearing about her adventures when she gets back.