July 29th, 2007


Fear of flying

Getting my daughter ready to go off to college makes me think about that time in my own life. My parents bundled my belongings into a few suitcases and a locker trunk and sent me off on a plane. There were no meal plan options to worry about. I ate virtually every meal in the dining hall. Once a month I got a check in the mail for spending money—$25!

For my daughter, I have to also get her a laptop and printer so she can do her homework—and IM me. I got her a bank account (that I can transfer money into) with a debit card so she can pay for books, drugstore items, the occasional movie or burger, and (since I didn't opt for "concierge service" at the dorm) toilet paper. We're making a packing list that includes her cell phone charger.

I had none of those things. Some of my college friends had checking accounts, but they actually wrote paper checks. There were no debit cards, ATM cards, computer networks, laptops, e-mail, or IM.

And yet still the core of this phase of life is the same. Putting your kid on a plane to college (or dropping him or her off by car) is still an act of faith. I've done the best I could for her for 18 years. Now it's up to her. I'm like a mother bird who has pushed her fledgling from the nest and now she hopes it doesn't drop like a stone. I suppose it's a little easier for people. Fledglings don't have e-mail.
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