I hate to admit it but they are right, I was seriously kidding myself if I hadn't expected this day to come.
Nine years after my eldest daughter Jem, first fell in love with Africa, she booked her plane tickets for the adventure of her lifetime. She had spent 2 years working multiple jobs after school hours and saving her money, focusing on her dream to make it become a reality. Once she completed high school and the decision of would she go straight on to university or take a 'Gap Year' off needed to be made, Jem decided to take the time off. The concept of a gap year, after finishing high school, had always appealed to me, as a parent and my husband and I have made a point of encouraging both of our children to consider it. The final year of high school, in Australia, is heavy with pressure to study, study, study in particular for their final year exams, as the result they get in the end will predict what they are able to study in university. Jem needed a score high enough to allow her be accepted into Social Welfare at her chosen university and fortunately she was offered a place. She decided to defer her offer for one year to enable to her to travel to Africa.
I had promised Jem that I would not cry at the airport. In the days leading up to her departure we had made a conscious effort to avoid the subject all together, which is really difficult to do when there are lists to be checked, last minute purchases to be made and the inevitable packing to be done. But we managed...barely. The day that she was leaving seemed to evaporate into thin air and all too soon we were at the airport and at those damned departure gates! No matter my resolve, I could not stop my tears from breaking my promise and once they started flowing , there was no going back. I tried to hide my wet face and pretended I was rubbing my eyes because they were itchy, but she knew and in seconds her face was wet too. This 'letting go' thing is so much harder than I had prepared myself for.
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