Though it's not a stretch. In our family, we have all been known to eat too much. Today, however, I'm a glutton for punishment. Yesterday I sent Grace, my 22 year old, off again--for a year this time. And today I'm reading 'One' on Gluten-Free Girl, about their beloved turning one. I should be used to this sadness, as Grace has gone to college in the Netherlands for the past three years. Before that, she also spent six months in the Dominican Republic and six months in France. Now she's heading off to Leiden, for a one year masters program in Book and Digital Media Studies.
It's mainly our fault. Pavel and I did everything we could to encourage this--I was an exchange student myself, as was my sister. Pavel speaks in an accent so thick some people probably think he's kidding (he's not). We've felt that learning a second language, and, maybe even more importantly, learning another culture, was a basic part of an education. Or should be. And so Simon spent a year in Ecuador (and is now bumming around Europe) and our youngest is leaving in September for a yearlong exchange outside Napoli. I'm still in denial about her departure.
But back to Gluten-Free Girl's piece. It was so nice to be taken back to our own delicious first year of parenting. Spending hours listening to Grace laugh, watching her make funny faces, and emptying--one-by-one--our bookshelves (apparently she found her calling early!). And especially this: "I love seeing the world again, anew, present and alive, through her eyes." I know just how she feels. The wonderful thing is that this lasts--hearing our kids talk about their lives and travels, or reading what they write on blogs and facebook, is the greatest joy I know.
Last week the Oregonian ran an interview with the people who wrote The New Global Student
She's right, but that payoff seems long away when you're waving good-bye at the airport.
The glutton in me is wondering what comfort food this week demands. A favorite food of Grace's (that would be hard to pinpoint--she's as good an eater as they come), or perhaps something from my own exchange year in Denmark? Unfortunately, the weather in Portland this week is promising to be unforgivingly hot. I think it calls for ice cream. From the grocery store. Lots of it.