There hasn’t been an update about my daughter for a while, because she’s been off at school being a student. That’s unremarkable except in the sense that there were doctors who didn’t think she’d be strong enough to hold a pencil, and she’s about to finish her Bachelor’s, but whatever. She’s a person who’s in school and, unless you’re one of her roommates who doesn’t like how my kid folds her t-shirts, there isn’t much to say.
There’s this one thing she’s doing that most other college students get to do that isn’t remarkable except that IT TOTALLY IS. In addition to graduating, I mean.
She and her friends are going on a trip for spring break.
They’ve made arrangements for a place to stay, they’ve got meals etc. planned out, they’re leaving the Monday of spring break and they’re getting out of town. OUT OF STATE! They’re going to San Francisco for a week. My kid–my fragile little girl who missed out on so many rites of passage simply because of her physical disability–is going to San Francisco with her friends for a week.
It shouldn’t be a big deal. In the scheme of things, it isn’t a big deal. I know. I should calm down. But I can’t. I know what it took for me–her mother, who is admittedly slightly overprotective–to plan a trip with her, and I am accustomed to handling all of her accessibility issues. Calling ahead, using my serious voice to impart the gravity of my daughter’s circumstances, the possibility for injury to her if the access they claim to have in place isn’t as wonderful as they say it is, asking politely but firmly for photos of bathrooms and doorways. Then arriving at a location to find there’s a twelve-inch step just to get in the place, or the elevator is broken, or there is no elevator (honest to God, that happened) and they put us on the second floor. The path to the restaurant “next door” is unpaved. The restaurant only has bar-height tables, and she has to be lifted out of her chair to sit precariously on a bar stool with no back.
Sorry, I started hyperventilating there.
But she’s going. On her own. With her friends–because she also HAS FRIENDS, something my mother heart was afraid might not happen because people are sometimes so dimwitted they only see how different she is physically and not how magnificent she is emotionally and intellectually. She has friends from all over the world–literally–and they are going on a trip with her.
And she is TRAVELING. When she told me about her plans, she mentioned that this was likely to be her last spring break ever (how sad is THAT to know your kid is about to enter the super depressing world of no spring break until you’re a parent and THEN it’s misery trying to figure out how to entertain your kids for seven straight days?) and she figured it was about time.
My God, at her age, the biggest trip I had taken was from Carbondale to St. Louis, about 120 miles, because HELLO! I was also an introverted, anxious young person who didn’t get out much, over-(self)-protective even then. She’s leaving the STATE. With her young-people friends. Like young people DO. I saw my friends doing it, so I know what it looks like, I just never did it myself.
And at her age, let’s face it, I was the mother of two.
She is going on spring break, people! Without her mom! Without her dad! Without a safety net!
I would say I’m nervous, but if I’m honest, my strongest emotion is jealousy! How COOL would it be to go on this trip at her age? I’m stoked. Thrilled. Yes, jealous. But SO FREAKING EXCITED.