Yesterday I dropped Claire off at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport.
Jane, Charlotte, and I followed her (and her giant red backpack)
through the airport and to the security check, where
we hesitantly said our goodbyes.
I was teary, and so was Claire.
She was so brave all day (I broke down a few times),
but as we hugged one
last time to say our goodbyes, her little shoulders
shook, and she nestled her head into my chest.
In tears, she confessed, "I'm nervous, Mom."
"Me too, honey," I said honestly.
Then I pulled her shoulders back and, in tears, gave her my best advice.
I told her to talk to people and then love them.
From the TSA agents to the flight attendants, the
frazzled mother with small children who might need some help on the airplane,
her leaders and fellow HEFY friends,
but especially the people she will serve in Samoa.
I told her to be present and to look into people's eyes when she speaks to them.
She has so much love and light to give and will shine if she wants.
We waved to her as she wound her way through the security line.
Finally, she turned around, waved to us one last time, and was out of sight.
Then I cried.
I am SO proud of her.
This is a big deal for her (and me).
This opportunity is pushing both of us in uncomfortable ways.
But it's so good (again, for both of us).
I reminded her of something my dad had said to me in 2005 when I was
boarding a red-eye flight from Utah to New Jersey with three children
(all in diapers), sick and pregnant:
YOU are of good strong pioneer stock,
and YOU could do hard and new things.
Once she makes it to Los Angeles and is with the rest of her
group, she can no longer use her cell phone.
That makes me nervous,
but I trust the HEFY program, the leaders, and the program.
(My dear friend Amy is the director, and anything Amy does AMAZING).
Goodbye, Claire. Take lots of pictures for us!
I can't wait to hear your stories, adventures, and feelings when you
return!!! Remember everything because I want to hear EVERYTHING!