I'm back from a wonderful trip to New York City, wherein I did my best to install Maddie into summer/intern living in the Upper West Side. Talk about launching -- with Maddie coming home for a month after her freshman year at college and then leaving again, I've been awash with both trepidation and excitement over this new period in her (and my own) life.
Before we left for NYC, when Maddie was once again settled into her yellow room at the top of the stairs, I started having vivid dreams about Jordan (my missionary) every. single. night. There was always this overwhelming joy to see her again accompanied by a feeling of unease: "Why are you here? Why am I here? Are we supposed to be here?" My conscious mind has made limited peace with my baby being gone. But my subconscious? She's super angry and confused. She's looking, looking, looking -- always trying to make sense of the absence. It's a wound for sure. And I think to myself, "Children are meant to grow up and leave home. Are we meant to be wounded by this process?" Me thinks, "YES."
So, I'm wounded, but I got to go to New York City!
Here's where I owe the launching world a bit of an apology. When I took my girls to college I moaned and groaned about the injustice of it all. I wanted them back -- complete with little blond ringlets and perky dimples and their consuming love for Polly Pocket. Even now I'd put up with those tiny rubber pants to have my girlies back. But when I left them at college, I tucked them into their ultra conservative dorms -- the very dorm I had lived in as a college freshman, on the campus where I fell in love with my husband. In essence, it was like taking them to a lengthy summer camp. At grandma's. No worries there. I shouldn't have whined so much about grandma camp. I apologize. I'm older and wiser now.
This time, however, I dropped my baby off alone in New York City. I mean, I won't even let her go jogging by herself in our suburban neighborhood, but I left her alone in New York City!?! It doesn't make sense really.
On the flip side, I can see that she needs this opportunity to grow outside the confines of the carefully constructed environment we have created for her. She needs to learn to rely on herself, to know that she can do hard things, that she can show up on Times Square at 8 AM on a Monday morning and say, "I'm here, ready to work." She's already learning that a full time job means working most of your waking hours, and that wearing uncomfortable shoes on a commute to New Jersey means blisters, and that there are super long lines at the Trader Joe's at 72nd Street.
As for me? I'm now praying for and worrying over Bordeaux and NYC. My worrying has gone global!! And isn't it cool that we don't have long distance bills anymore? There's that at least.
For anyone in NYC this summer, our favorite restaurant of the trip was Community Food and Juice in Morningside Heights. And, of course, Levain Bakery in Harlem. We tried out Absolute Bagels. They were delicious, but the whole experience was reminiscent of Seinfeld's Soup Nazi -- I got in big trouble because when I went to pay I didn't specify STRAWBERRY cream cheese. Oops. Also, Maddie is devoted to Brooklyn Industries -- some really cute pieces there.