The crying commences during that last hug before she heads through security to fly back to Scotland. If you see a woman wearing sunglasses & sobbing as I watch my daughter approach the TSA line at Austin’s airport …that’s me. Yep, I’m the wacky one waiting to wave my final goodbye until I can still see a sliver of her curly red hair as she strolls toward the gate. She’s the seasoned, confident traveler and I’m the emotional, mushy mess … left behind. When she’s out of sight and I’m sure her flight is taking off on-time, I hightail it to the nearest bathroom, lock myself in a stall and cry a little more. I manage to compose myself after a few minutes, touch up my makeup and weave back through the crowds wondering if my eyes still appear puffy and red and then worry someone will think I’ve been boozing instead of boo-hooing. I can hear it now. “Did you see that anchorwoman at the airport, she looked like she’d been drinking heavily!”
This scene is replayed every year when my daughter makes her return trip to Scotland after the holidays. I promise myself I’ll be one of those brave moms who sucks in the sadness and merely smiles, hugs and holds in the tears when I say so-long. That NEVER happens … the crying always comes like clockwork. Perhaps it’s Pavlovian — but this airport send-off is the signal in my mind that the holidays are officially over. The anticipation, the thrill of her arrival, the movies, shopping, lunches and long talks are history.
We skype, text, facebook message and communicate often in all those high tech ways. But nothing compares to the warm fuzzy feeling of knowing your only child is home … really home … sleeping in her bed, cuddling with her cat and catching up with her Austin friends. It doesn’t matter if that child is 2, 12 or 22 … it’s still comforting.
Carly is a college senior now completing her studies at St. Andrews University in Scotland. Her university experience has been phenomenal. She ‘s made amazing friends, she’s found academic success and she’s an award winning poet ( the Slam Poetry Champion of Scotland!). She’s taken to Scotland like a duck to water and even wants to stay for graduate school.
I’m thrilled for her. We all want our children to have exciting adventures, pursue their passions and build a loving support system. Who knew that would happen half a world away?
Oh well, it’s a great place to visit … there’s graduation coming up … and maybe some summer travel together. So, that will have to fulfill my maternal yearnings … until next Christmas.