Thursday, September 13, 2012

Fleeing Boston

One of the things I miss most about Allie is her truth telling.

Toward the end of her senior year in high school this trait became more and more laughable as she expressed her opinions of my wardrobe.  In some psychosomatic effort to engage vicariously in her packing for college (and have something constructive to do myself since she would not let me help), I overhauled my own closet.  Emptied the entire thing including shoes and started from scratch to determine what, if anything, was still in style, fit and wasn't stained.  One needs an accountability partner to do this well.  Allie was mine.  With one glance she communicates so much: "Are you kidding me right now?" "Definitely Goodwill."  "Don't let me ever see you in that." or simply, "No." I ended up with a few decent items we now refer to as "Allie-approved."

She dared not comment on the pouch. I love my pouch--a flat Bagallini travel bag with a jillion zippers that rides over the shoulder. She'd donate it if she could. What bugs her is that I never take it off. "It looks like you're about to flee," was the truth be told.

Aha! That's exactly what I love about it. I am ready in an instant. My keyless ignition button is on my person. So is a pen, my wallet and library card. I have what I need at hand's reach. I am armed and ready whether Reid bolts out the door impulsively or I find myself with unexpected time for a Trader Joe's stop. I can turn on a dime with this pouch, like Kanga bounding through the Hundred Acre Wood after Roo.

As soon as she explained, I understood the sentiment. The pouch became a symbol of all the times she been the trailing sibling.  Left to shut the door; decide whether to follow or sit tight; have her own plans deferred.  For me, the pouch is practical. For Allie, it was a painful reminder that her mom might be gone a flash.

Alas, "She'll be back. Back real soon," to quote our favorite board book, Owl Babies by Martin Waddell. Like Jeneil's Hope on the first day of kindergarten or the eldest owl, Allie knows her time with mom will come, eventually.  And when it does, we savor it.

I didn't dash out of Boston as one friend suggested, "Tell her in advance that you're gonna hug her then turn and run like h*** so we aren't all embarrassed."  Not me.  I had cried my eyes out the week before.  So I was free to stand on the corner of Boylston and Mass Ave. Linger actually and watch Allie walk away from me. Toward her dorm, toward independence, into the unknown...knowing that she was leaving my nest but staying in the shelter of the Most High.

Hey, what's that around her neck?

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty...He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge... Psalm 91

Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. Psalm 63:6-8

Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings  Psalm 17:7-9 

1 comment:

  1. Beautifully written. I loved it. It reminded me how my first 3 kids had me all to themselves BC (before Connor: 4-10 years). The last 2 are experiencing a completely different childhood. One filled with waiting rooms and therapy sessions, hours spent driving, and play dates that are rare and far between. For the youngest - it's all they've ever known. It's not an accommodation. The older kids seemed to understand what they lost. It's much easier, I think, for the littles ones. The environment they were raised in demanded that they be empathetic. It's a character trait that's very hard to instill it in an "entitled" child who sees everything as taking away from "me".