The mobile map tracks our progress toward Michigan, home of the upcoming sleep-away camp and my sister and niece. What a combo!
We landed, collected the baggage and they took turns careening around on the luggage cart before it was loaded down with all their stuff. My sister pulled up to the curb, and my niece was running, jumping and laughing all at the same time as I grabbed her and twirled in a circle, smiling like crazy myself. Everybody was talking at once:
How are you guys? Are you tired?
What time is it here?
Auntie Shar! I'm doing math again**!
They had TV's on the plane and we thought we almost missed our flight but we didn't really! It was scary!
Do you like pizza? We're making you pizza!
And then the big one:
Are you excited for camp?
Yes. They were excited for camp***. For me, it was déjà vu all over again.
Another parking lot full of people I didn't know. Another rented bus waiting to take my daughter away from me. You'd think I'd at least be better prepared for the onslaught of panic that gripped me as the doors closed. But I wasn't. Let's face it. Waving goodbye to someone you love is the worst feeling in the world.
And sometimes the bravest thing a child can do.
I was going with the "tears of pride" theory when my sister turned to me and said, "Was it me, or were we the only black people here?"
I went back to the "tears of fear" area immediately.
Do you see any black people in this picture?
* A frenzy of late-night labeling and packing had kept me up. Every single item in her duffle bag had to have her name on it. As in, each individual sock. Can you say, overkill?
** We have a private joke about this. I pretend to be appalled by her "big girl" skills and she taunts me with shouts of "four plus four is eight!" before dissolving into hysterics.
*** They (my daughter and her close friend from school) were also excited for the backyard full of fireflies that greeted them at my sister's place. I quote: "It's magic here!" It was also cloyingly hot and humid, even at 11 at night. And, between that, their nerves, and the time change, nearly impossible for them to sleep that night.