she's off!

During this Independence Day weekend I have been remembering that 4th of July three years ago when we watched Lauren's ponytail swing through airport security on her way to work for Aunt Sue in Ireland.

This week she celebrated her (semi)independence by getting on a plane bound for LA (where she met the rest of her group) and then heading to the South Pacific.

She's been planning this for 7 months, completed the AYS applications, raised money (thank you to you dear family and friends who contributed), wrote lists and packed in preparation for this long-dreamt-of adventure.  She'll be gone for 16 days, with a group of young people (ages 16-19) + 4 parents + 1 expedition leader. They will be building a library in Tonga, working on other service projects, learning, serving, discovering. And some fun thrown in there, too--they stopped in Fiji for a day of snorkeling on their way to Tonga, for example. Definitely working hard and playing hard.

. . .

I have been remembering, too, those pesky Braxton Hicks contractions that plagued me in the last part of my pregnancies.  Life has a way of warning us, of designing rehearsals into our systems so that we can gradually prepare ourselves for the real deal.  I've come to think of these adventures and field trips as another set of Braxton Hicks experiences, just preparing me ever-so-slightly for the time when she--they--get on the plane and fly away into a new life. Ever since their births, the leavings just get longer and more distant, more thrilling and bittersweet.  But it's what I signed on for and I have to remind myself that healthy, sprouting, + blooming independence is a thing to celebrate, not mourn. Right?