She gave me my first taste of independence when she talked my parents into letting me travel back East with her. I will never forget the liberating feeling we had when, at age 18, they served us wine at a wonderful brasserie in Manhattan. I remember her driving a stick shift car out of the crazy streets of Manhattan and up to her families lake house.
A few years passed, and we ended up in Europe together the summer of 1978. Earlier that Spring she had been on a study abroad program in France with my husband. Of course, he wouldn't become my husband for another 12 years. Life is full of odd coincidences.
We met up in August and she taught be how to hop on trains, forced me to stay in youth hostels, and introduced me to the ballet and the paintings of Georges Seurat. I still have the book on Seurat she hid under my pillow one night when I was fast asleep.
Those were some of the richest days of my life. My first taste of independence had a profound effect on me. And I thank her for that. Now her son is getting ready to leave home. Kyle will leave the year after. I hope they both find that fierce spirit of adventure and that desire to soak in everything new and different. I hope they have the time of their lives.
But I ask you and I promise I will ask my friend this, "Can we go with them?" I sort of know the answer already. But I figure it couldn't hurt to ask.
So, dear friends, old and new, I hope you help me find my independence as my sons get ready to leave home.