One year ago our 17 year old Katie took a brief 3 day adventure and visited us during our “annual event” – a relaxing 16 days in the Carribean on St. Thomas. While watching her snorkel for the 1st time I had one of those mother moments. I was sitting on the deck perched at Magens Bay waters edge, and it hit me. She is going to be leaving to go to college and our lives are going to change, grow strangely quiet, and be focused on questions like “how’s she doing?” Before that happens though I knew we had a year of more pressing questions – “What are you going to do with your life Kate?” “Which school is right to help you meet your goals and dreams?” , “When is the ACT?” “How did you do on the ACT?”, “How much have we saved?”, “How much financial aid will you get?” – WAIT!!!! STOP!!!!!!
I realized that the baby of the family is going to be moving toward making some of the most important decisions of her life in the next 5 years, and I’m not ready! I decided that the best answer was travel – but of course that is my answer for every problem, and so it began. We spent the next couple of days enjoying St. Thomas and with every passing hour I was plotting and planning how I would spend time with her as we both took our journey to the next big thing in her life.
In May we went to Disney World for 4 days. We plotted our path, found our inner princesses and enjoyed each others company while delighting in all of our favorite Disney magic.
In June we headed to New York City – a trip that was planned with the dance company she is a member of. During this trip I decided that it was important to give her freedom to be a young woman exploring NYC and consider all it holds for a midwestern girl with dreams of dancing as a professional. So I kicked back – told her that she needed to find her way to the studio where the girls were taking classes each day, find her way to the location of the Rockettes’ seminar, keep me posted on her arrival back at the hotel and we will go explore the city from there.
And we took New York City by storm – we were on the TODAY show plaza – Radio City Music Hall – Serendipity – The Statue of Liberty – The 911 Memorial – Five (yes 5) Broadway shows, and she learned from real dancers, took classes with real dancers (and hopefuls), participated in audition seminars and never missed a beat. We met 2 young ladies working the front desk of our hotel that were dancers trying to “make it” in NYC and she spent some time hearing them say “Its hard – but follow your dream”. We had many talks about what she was feeling, learning and how she was growing. Experiences for her to grow and for me to let go. We are both learning and processing and growing closer so when it is time to go we will both know that we are there for each other.