Yesterday we loaded up my daughter's panniers and bungeed up her bike until it looked like the Beverly Hillbillies' truck and sent her on a 400 mile bike trek with 9 other high school students and two adorably peppy adults to Montreal. In March, when I booked this trip, it seemed like an exciting adventure. Right now it seems like my first baby steps toward letting go. This whole parenting thing is not for the faint of heart.
This trip was the product of my internet search, but my daughters have always craved an outward bound type challenge. They love the pure idea of "Survivor". The problem with the show is that it is too much jumping over tiki torches and eating spiders in return for Mountain Dew and not enough foraging for roots and berries. So right this minute my baby has ridden 27 miles on a bike that weighs more than she does and is foraging for berries in Nyack. No rain today. No support van. I imagine over-sized bottles of shampoo and conditioner being thrown out along 9W. I imagine her returning bronzed and hairy, with legs like that cyclist in the "Triplets of Bellville", mouthing off in youth hostel Canadian French and preferring foreign bagels. That's if we don't get a call. What have I done!?
My husband said, "Can't you stop worrying and enjoy her trip?". I said, "Are you nuts! This trip is not for MY enjoyment! It is my penance for hovering and meddling and too many organized activities. This trip is so she can develop her executive function and get a Canadian boyfriend" (not really, she has a wonderful boyfriend to whom she will remain ever true) That is when I successfully transfered my parental dread and he woke up sweating at 4am. Mission accomplished.
Her sister is continuing on at their old faithful sleep away camp. The inmates running the asylum, I call it. She will be just as happily filthy and foul mouthed and full of contraband junk food when she returns home. So far, the beginning to a successful summer. They did a week of hard duty babysitting and found some some giant yellowed paperbacks that are sure to make them weep on the couch for a week. Those were the days.
Keep me in your thoughts and pray for no rain.
For Teen Treks: