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We're Off to See The Redhead

Thursday, November 6, 2014

 I had decided not to go to Maine to see Phoebe at Bowdoin over Halloween Weekend. I really couldn’t afford it. What's more, I would have to give a talk in Ohio on the Sunday of Parents’ Weekend, and it made me really nervous to be that far away on Saturday. A lot of people would be disappointed if, say, I missed my flight or we got snowed in. Which we very nearly did. But Phoebe and Bill and Liam worked on me, and a kind friend gave me a fiscal kick in the pants, and I caved. Oh how I miss that girl. How we all miss her! Hadn't seen her since late August, and that's the longest we've been separated in 18 years.

 I got so excited as the time drew near. Honestly, with a $200 round trip from Akron nonstop to Boston (thank you, Southwest!!)  how could we not? We could never buy the gas to drive it for that, even if we had the energy and time to make a 15-hour drive up and back. It is such a miracle to be able to sit on a plane for 1.5 hours and get off in Boston. From there, we would rent a car for the 2.5 hour drive to Brunswick. 

That's because you can’t really fly to Maine from Ohio. You can try, but ultimately it isn’t worth the hassle or the cost. Get yourself to Boston, and figure ground transportation out from there.

The first night at dinner with Phoebe's fabulous roommate Anna. What a joy to see her close to her roomies. Three girls share a bedroom the size of your average walk-in closet, and they're best of friends? How does that work? Note that Liam just lights up around his sister. He's done fine here with us, but She Who Must Be Obeyed is #1. 

Parents' Weekend had lots of organized activities, but all we wanted to do was have Phoebs show us her favorite buildings, rooms, places, and people. Hubbard Hall featured large in her panoply of things she loves about Bowdoin.

We did do one of the organized activities, joining about 50 other people in a night tour of Haunted Bowdoin. It was Most Excellent. The rest of the time, we drug her around the Maine coast, ate, shopped, hung out.

They really know what they're doing, holding P.W. on the last weekend in October. The maples were on fire; the skies were mostly blue; it wasn't too cold. It was heaven on the most beautiful campus I've seen. I suspect that Phoebe takes after her mother in that beauty, and its pursuit, are her prime motivators.

We got out and about. Stopped to smell the Rosa rugosa.  Liam. Honestly. He makes me laugh.

I love so much about these kids, but near the top of the list is how much they love each other. They went around like a couple of Harry Harlow's rhesus monkeys, joined at the hip and shoulder.  Sorry if that reference is a bit obscure. Bio Anthro major here.

Because it was Halloween night, Bill staged a spooky attack on the you see it? 

Phoebe and Liam were stricken with a headache at the same moment, before a statue of the Goddess Migraine. Spooky! Speaking of spooky, I direct your attention to Liam's right hand. Incredible. I've never seen hands like his. We call him Fingers. Pianist or surgeon? Probably neither. I'm not sure I'd want Liam to operate on me. At least not without some training. Gibbons have long fingers, too.

 I am partial to Boston ivy, and this was one of the best displays I'd seen in awhile. The stately building reminded me of a jacked up pickup fresh from the flame painter. I wouldn't have been surprised to see it peel off, stage left.

Just outside, the sweetest lady Lab waited for her person. She had such a dignified mien that I took her for a service dog at first, and fought back my urge to stroke that sweet head. She was trying not to be noticed, intent on her job of Waiting.

When I got closer she thumped her tail and flopped over on her side.  I have a soft spot for Labs, and I'm not alone. What a wonderful dog.

We'd checked the weather, and planned our Phoebe-led campus tours for the sunny bits. This was truly the last hurrah of the sugar maples, and we were so glad to be there for their full glory. Old November was lurking just around the corner in his moth-eaten gray suit, after all. 

Does it get any better than this chapel, these trees, this mackerel sky?

Only if you put a redhead in the picture.

 Traveling will be our reality for the next four years, as we strive to keep in touch with our Red Comet. Seeing her in her new element, in the embrace of new friends who are smart, funny, kind and delightfully diverse, brought an unexpected lump to my throat. Really, this whole experience plumbs untried emotions in me. She's launched, and all we can do is hang on and savor what time we have with her.


Lovely. All of it - daughter, son, and campus. I went to Bowdoin once - when I was at Wellesley. I think it had something to do with being in the Wellesley College Choir (Glee Club) and singing with our opposite numbers at Bowdoin. Can it have been a men's school back then? And I mean waaaaaaay back then, you understand. Speaking of going somewhere because of the beauty - that's why I went to Wellesley. Have you ever seen the Wellesley College campus? I'm tellin' ya... New England is full of beautiful.

(sorry for the caps; once-in-awhile I can't help myself)

This post made me smile for so many reasons. The love is palpable, and the joy you feel for her is the pinnacle of parenthood. A job well done.

Kimb, even as I wrote that I thought about Bennington. And Wellesley. And Smith. And Amherst. They're all beautiful. I shouldn't discriminate. I know that Bowdoin is beautiful primarily because one I love so much loves it there.
Cyberthrush, thank you. More to come. It was a hella good trip.
Jayne, YOU OUGHTA KNOW. Your profile photo says it all, Mama Lion. Love you dear. Tell Sam his portrait of Chet is right on my studio wall above the sink where I see it every day and smile.

I knew she would amaze you, and I know it will continue. Thanks, as always, for sharing so much love and beauty.

So glad you did go...we would have missed all the beauty you shared with us.

On the goddess Migraine, I was thinking they were all talking on cell phones. I mean, pop a cell phone in that statue's hand and see what I mean.

I do love the patient waiting lab's photo. They are indeed wonderful dogs. Never would have thought it--in fact, we had avoided getting a lab (previously had English setters bench variety and loved them). But once we got our (part) lab, we are sold! The best dogs ever.

New England beauty in the fall--so lovely. Phoebe--so lovely. Happy brother, happy family, happy times.

Thank you for the sweet smile and wistful tears you brought me today. Tonight is the first "official" college discussion for parents at daughter's school which has brought on a panoply of emotions for all of us.

Got a full infusion of NE autumn color from this post. I'm always homesick in October.

Posted by Gail Spratley November 6, 2014 at 7:37 AM

My home-schooled son is only in 7th grade, but this post made MY heart ache over HIS launch, yet in our future. Bittersweet, indeed.

What a perfect weekend, full of love and autumn light. Phoebe and Liam have the perfect launching pad for their spectacular trajectories.

(Love the Harry Harlow reference, I was a Physical Anthro major!)

The photo of Liam and Phoebe with the hair blending into the trees is perfect!
Too bad there weren't a few aspens on Liam's side.

Loved the whole thing!

I remember Harry...

She'll be home for winter break before you know it...beautiful post.

How good you dared to make the lightening quick visit; oh those red leaves and your beautiful Red Comet and how she is so close to her brother.

Isn't it wonderful to be able to see the world thru your daughter's eyes?
She has so much in front of her. Best wishes for your whole family!

Lovely post, and so poignant. They never really come home again. The brother/sister dynamic is so wonderful!

This would be a magical sweet post even if there wasn't a black Lab in it.
These new chapters require adapting no?
The campus and red princess are like scenes from a fairy tale.

I loved this post Julie! You have such a way with your words, and your children are awesome (as of course, are you!) They can only be a reflection of those who raised them, and I would say you've done very well indeed! Congratulations and many happy trips back to Maine! :-) Best, Chuck Slusarczyk Jr.

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