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My daughter left tonight on this plane to begin her OE!

As of this evening two of my three children have flown the nest and I’m stunned by the effect it is having on me.

My youngest daughter Mira moved away three years ago to go and study up in Auckland.

Tonight my oldest daughter Zofia flew away to begin her OE (overseas experience) and at this point she is intending to stay away for at least two years. She is headed for London and she is on a mission.

I took this photo from our car window as we were leaving the airport after saying good-bye. I realised the plane on the runway beside us was the plane my daughter was about to fly away on. It was wet and dark. My heart was exploding. I felt like I was in one of those movie scenes running along the train platform, holding on as the train pulls away from the station. My husband slowed down so I could take a photo. It was probably silly but I didn’t care. I needed to take a photo of that plane. It didn’t even matter to me that we were holding up traffic behind us as we reduced our speed. This was a pivotal moment in my life; a milestone of sorts.

The lead up to tonight’s departure has not been an easy one; for her nor for any of us who love her that are left behind.

I held it together at the airport but the tears are flowing freely now.

I sit here wondering why I am crying when this is what I want for her – to be able to seek out what she wants, to find herself, and experience life.

I am sad because, for what is really an insignificant amount of time in the bigger scheme of things, I will not see her beautiful face and her precious smile every day! The loss I feel at this exact moment is indescribable. I know this pain will ease with time but at the moment its intensity seems unbearable.

My sister quoted Kahlil Gibran to me as she tried to console me. I had to smile as I remembered those special words …

On Children
Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let our bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

As of tonight two of my three living arrows have been sent forth. They are both such amazing women. Their time with me is over. I never thought about this time before. I didn’t really prepare myself for this. I didn’t think it would hurt so much. I suddenly realised that I am going through a grieving process.

“Is this normal?” I ask myself.

“Do other parents feel the same way?”

I don’t know because no one seems to talk about these things. Or … maybe they do and I just haven’t taken notice of it because it didn’t apply to me … until now that is!

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