Waving Good Bye

June 23, 2011

Gracious Living Day by DayI drove Nena at the airport yesterday afternoon.

Nena traveling alone

Nena traveling alone

It was a humid, tempestuously stormy, mercurial day.

At one stretch of the highway, the sharp sun rays made us squint and we looked for our sunglasses.

Then, we would pass some invisible line and enter another reality. Dark low clouds, wind, blinding sheets of rain. The traffic slowed down to a crawl.

Somehow, we made it to the airport on time.

Nena is flying to London and staying there a week. Then, she is going on to Prague where she will attend a Writer’s Program for the rest of the summer.

Nena has been to Europe before. After high school, she and her cousin Sasha traveled by train through Holland, France, Spain and Italy.

Branka and I traveled to Serbia with the kids several times.

But this is Nena’s first trip alone.

She was calm, poised and organized.

I was nervous.

I had a fleeting image of hiding in her large duffel bag and hitching a flight to the other side of the ocean as a stow away.

As she entered the security line, Nena wanted to say good bye. She wanted me to leave. She was ready to commence her journey on her own.

But I couldn’t leave just yet. I waited while the line haltingly sneaked along. For once, I was in no hurry.

There was a young Indian couple with a toddler in a stroller seeing someone off. I stood next to them and waved to Nena every time she looked in my direction.

They smiled at me. I smiled at them. The toddler smiled shyly and quickly looked away. Then, their relatives gone, they nodded and left.

Nena turned and waved one more time.

I watched as the white and silvery stripes of her shirt blended with the fluorescent lights of the airport ambiance.

Then I turned around and headed in the opposite direction.

Out into the cascading rain. Then sunlight. Then rain again.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Jelena June 23, 2011 at 9:36 am

Good journeys to Nena! Ah, being a parent is not for the faint of heart. Good thing those of us staying behind take care of each other.


Liliana June 23, 2011 at 9:47 am

You are so right, Jelena.

Thanks goodness for dear friends.


John June 23, 2011 at 9:24 am

Roots and wings are the most meaningful gifts we can give to our children. You’ve done well!


Liliana June 23, 2011 at 9:26 am

Thank you, John.

Coming from a father as kind, devoted and concerned as you are, it means a lot to me.

Hugs to you,


Carol Brock June 23, 2011 at 9:07 am

Hang in there and know that she will be having a wonderful experience.
And I just wanted to let you know – I went with my husband to his best friend’s daugher’s grad party – and I thought of that photo of the food at your son’s party – it looked fantastic!!
Have a great day and thanks for sharing.


Liliana June 23, 2011 at 9:23 am

Carol, I know you are right.

No one wanted Nena to go on this trip more than I. But, what can I say – a mother worries. My mother must have felt the same when she saw me off to London at that age. It’s funny, I don’t remember her saying anything.

As long as I don’t let my fears get in her way, things should be OK, right?

I hope you had a wonderful time at the graduation party.

Best to you and enjoy the summer,


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