Yesterday my wife and I took our eldest daughter to the airport to study abroad for a semester in Ireland. She is now a junior in college and it was almost exactly two years ago that I wrote this post about leaving her off at college for the first time and the separation anxiety we felt. I must admit, that was a much tougher experience for me than this one. Granted, this time we cannot just drive two hours up to see her at college if she is sick or needs us to be there for some reason or another.
There was the time in her freshman year that she had a case of head lice. I'm sure you have probably heard about this in grade school but it is also prevalent in college. My wife was able to head up there as soon as she found out about it. In two hours she was able to pick up the medication needed to shampoo my daughter's hair and headed over to the dorm. After the application my daughter felt so much better and my wife was able to come home in the afternoon. She went back up the following week for another application and that took care of the problem. Being close enough to get to the college easily should be a consideration for any parent.
Then there was the time we thought she might have had the H1N1 Virus, also when she was a freshman. I remember a lot of parents were concerned about this virus during Accepted Students Day before she even started her classes. Many questions were asked to the college President and Dean of Student Affairs about how the college planned on dealing with this potential epidemic. My daughter knew that if a student came down with this virus they would have to be quarantined and separated from the rest of the students.
What this ultimately meant to her was that this could adversely affect her getting up to speed in her classes. If there is anything my daughter gets concerned about it is falling behind in her class studies, especially the first semester of her freshman year! She was in tears on the phone with us so my wife headed up to the college that morning, took her to the clinic on campus, and we found out that she did not have the virus. This was a load off of our daughter's mind as well as ours.
A little scare at the baggage check-in counter
Yesterday, as we were at the airport to see her off we were checking her in at the gate. The US Air employee, Fred, asked her a few questions before checking her bag.
“Do you have a return ticket?”
My daughter replied “Not yet“.
Then Fred looked at her and said “I can't let you go then.” We thought he was joking.
My daughter asked “Seriously?”
He said “You need to have a return ticket before you can fly to another country. The State Department came out with a statement in the last few days indicating this was the case.”
So my daughter asked “Can I log onto my computer and order the ticket now?”
He said “Sure.”
He left to help another customer and told us he would be back once the ticket was ordered. Due to the fact that Logan Airport in Boston has free wireless internet, my daughter was able to log in, order a return ticket from Dublin
to Boston for late December, and acquire the record locator number which was what the US Air employee needed. Within 15 minutes her bag was checked in and we were off for a quick bite for lunch before she entered security.
After having a quick lunch, my wife, youngest daughter, and I waited in the hallway of the airport and watched silently as my eldest waited in a fairly short security line and eventually passed through the scanner. After she put on her shoes, belt, and gathered up her backpack and carry-on, she waved back to us and smiled before she headed off on an adventure of a lifetime. When she turned her back and headed off into that terminal all by herself, we knew that another chapter in our daughter’s life, and ours, was just beginning.
I then looked into my wife's eyes and she looked into mine. They were moist with tears, as were mine. Here was our eldest leaving for four months for another country, not two hours away, but a 6 hour flight away. I must admit, it was easier than leaving her off for college for the first time two years ago, but it was still very, very tough…
Lianna unCorked, the blog
If you'd like to keep abreast of Lianna's study abroad adventure in Cork, Ireland, you can do so by visiting her blog called Lianna unCorked. She will be posting pictures and posts from her experiences in Ireland. She welcomes any and all comments!
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