Arrive at the New York Public Library an hour before the bus from camp is due to arrive, just in case it’s early. Fidget in anticipation.
Ask husband forty-three times: “Is that their bus?”
Ignore his exasperated sighs.
As soon as the bus arrives and kid gets off, rush over to her, squealing like a seventh grade girl. See:
(a) her face light up
(b) her cringe with embarrassment
(correct answer: c)
Give her a bigger hug than you’ve ever given her.
Notice she smells as if she hasn’t taken a bath in seven weeks.
Family hug. Tell her that you and her dad have been waiting to embarrass her.
Announce that when she goes to college, you’ve decided to move to that town.
Notice her look of terror.
Assure her you’re joking. Maybe.
Watch her collect her backpack and duffle. Wonder why a tree is sticking out of the backpack.
Admire the tree she chopped down with the ax she’d earned.
Notice she seems taller, more self-assured, (and can wield an ax).
Wonder how she’ll be able to take an ax on the plane.
Remember how she used to call her dad “Jet” since she couldn’t pronounce “Jeff.” Smile and blink back a tear. Was that really ten years ago? Briefly wonder if there’s a glitch in the space-time continuum.
Ask when she last took a shower. Wonder if it’s possible to turn on a fire hydrant and hand her a bar of soap before hopping on the 2 train to her grandmother’s apartment.
Hope her grandmother’s sense of smell isn’t what it used to be.
Hear about her 22-mile hike and a night alone in the woods with just a potato, matches and newly built lean-to. Be glad you’re hearing about the night alone after it happened.
Be thankful your family is back together. Notice how it no longer feels like a limb is missing
Call TSA about taking an ax on the airplane.