You know, when you plan things and they seem really, really far away that it is always a shock when the date arrives and suddenly you're all "OMG! it's time." Yeah, that was me over the past couple of days.
She slept in the livingroom, with her things strewn around her bed and the case in the center open like a gutted animal ready for cleaning by the butcher.
It was an ugly scene. And I was freaking out.
Sunday night I paced the house and panicked and freaked out and I think I fell asleep at 2am. Not to mention it was a million and a half degrees, and Doug had only put the AC in the window downstairs. He hadn't put the one in our bedroom yet... so there wasn't a comfortable place to sleep in the house. For me at least.
Monday morning I went to work and when I got home that afternoon she was 100% organized and ready to go.
She is a last minute kind of gal... but she got it all done.
The small suitcase that we got her for the London trip was sufficient for everything she'd need for three weeks in Germany. By the looks of the other kids' cases, hers was average to small. One boy at the airport had what looked like a briefcase as his luggage... two shirts, a pair of socks, an extra pair of skivvies and a toothbrush. That's all I need, ma'am. It cracked Doug and me right up.
They were waiting online for a half hour to check their bags and whatnot, and then they came out to say goodbye to the parents. I was missing her already so I gave her the birthday gift I got her, which I was going to slip into her carryon bag when she wasn't looking and then send her host family an email to tell her to look there. I bought her a pendant from Shakespeare's Den that quotes Julius Caesar, "I am as constant as the North Star." She'd seen it online last year, and I actually bought it for Keri for her birthday back in April... and Jess just loved it.
In the context of the play, Caesar's use of the phrase (if I recall correctly) means that he is stubborn and immovable, and in his arrogance he feels he is the one that is always to be looked to for guidance in navigation through life (apologies to my 11th grade AP English Teacher and to all Rebel Shakespeares out there if I'm getting that wrong).
For me, I think it means something else... As a parent (leader/governor) to a younger person who is traveling out into the world and feeling her way, I think it sends a message that we are constant, reliable, always there... without Caesar's sense of arrogance that we are the center of all of her social navigations.
I wanted her to know that about Doug and me, to know that wherever in the solar system she travels that we are as constant as the north star in her life, and hopefully she will look to us for guidance. And that as Polaris never fails to guide a traveler in the right direction, our constant love will be there for her, wherever she goes.
I think she knows that is the connotation for us. It is power in love, not power in authority.
She showed it to all her grade-level friends who were dying because they all just took their final exam and Julius Caesar was the play they had to know up and down, inside and out. One of the questions on the test was "What does Caesar liken himself to, and what is the significance of it?" So they were all like "Dude! You shoulda had that on yesterday for the final!!!!!" And everyone got a good laugh.
She emailed me a little while ago from Frankfurt. They landed and they are very, very tired. They're waiting for their connecting flight to Dusseldorf, and then off to their host families. I hope to hear from her again soon. I miss her.
And on that note, off to work so I can come home this evening to be with Geoff. As Jess would say.... "Ta, loves."