July 15, 2012
I came out of the bathroom and she was crying. Sitting on the edge of the bed, she looked up at me, wiped her eyes, and said "It didn't hit me until just now that you're leaving." I sat down on the bed next to her and put my arm around her. She let me squeeze her close. She usually doesn't like that, but she seemed ok with it this time. "You'll be fine," I said. "Once you meet your roommate, and make some friends, you're going to have fun! This is what you've been looking forward to for so long!"
It was earlier this year when Kara received a partial scholarship to attend a one month summer program at NYCDA in New York. It would mean living in a dorm for a month, in a strange place, with new people. By God's grace we were able to come up with the money to pay for everything. So on Friday Kara and I flew to New York with her supplies for the month. We had fun. We tried to visit the 911 Memorial, but we didn't have tickets. We stopped by Time Square where we saw the Naked Cowboy. We walked through Central Park. Then we went to Yankee Stadium in hopes of finding some cheap tickets to the game that night. We did find some cheap tickets from some guy on the street. And we had fun.
That night we stopped for Chinese on the way home, then back to our hotel. We stayed at The Jane Hotel. The room was probably 5 ft by 8 ft, with bunk beds. We showered (down the hall) and climbed into bed. It was so hot! We opened the window, hoping it would cool down. Finally at 3am, miserable and sweaty, I read through the book with information about the hotel. Turns out we had an air conditioner controlled by a little white remote. We cranked it down as far as it would go and finally got to sleep.
The next morning I woke up around 9. I woke Kara up and we got dressed and packed, checked out of the hotel and headed to her new dorm. Dragging suitcases through the subway was quite the adventure, and walking into the St. George Hotel where Kara would be staying was refreshing. It's a great looking place. She got check in and we went up to see her room. It was spacious, with two beds, two desks, a bathroom, 2 closets, a TV, fridge and microwave. We decide to Facetime with Mom so she could take a look at the room.
Then we headed to get some lunch and stock the fridge. After a tasty BBQ lunch we found Trader Joes where we bought some basic things like milk, bread, cereal, PB & J and some other snacks. Then we walked back to the dorm. We were hoping to meet her new roommate, but they still had not arrived. Kara put her food away while I went to use the bathroom. That's when it hit her. As I hugged her, it began to hit me too. I knew I had to leave, but I really didn't want to. She walked me down to the subway station where I would begin my trip to the airport. She started to cry again. My mind was racing. I hugged her again. I told her to text me when she got back to her room. I turned and walked down the stairs to the subway with a sinking feeling in my chest. I sat on the bench waiting for the next train. Should I go back? Should I get my flight changed? What if her roommate doesn't show up? What if there's a problem? I knew that as soon as she met someone, and started getting busy, that she would be fine. I thought back to the time I had been dropped off by my parents when I was her age. Christiansen Academy in Rubio, Venezuela. I spent my senior year of high school there. In a different country.
As I changed trains I received a text from Kara. Her roommate had finally arrived, and she and her parents were really nice. The next time I checked on her, she was at Target with her roommate and her parents. I finally made it to the airport, nearly missing my flight. As I fly home, I have mixed feelings. I'm holding back the tears as I type. I'm so proud of Kara. She's so smart and ambitious. She's brave. She's going to have a great time. Part of me wishes I could stay to experience her joys. Part of me wishes I could be a part of her new adventure. At the same time, I know this is part of the growing up experience. I have to let her go. I have to entrust her to God's leading. I know she's going to have a great time. I know she's going to learn and grow a lot. I can't wait to hear about her great adventures over the next month.
** You can follow Kara's New York Adventure on her blog.