The big yellow school bus lumbered up the black strip of road, squeezing between parked cars on one side and sidewalk on the other. My nerves tingled. That bus would carry my child, my only daughter, on the long winding coastal highway from our tiny country town to the big city of Honolulu.
Fear is my enemy, I told myself. Even now, I could say, "Let's go home. I don't want you to do this." Instead, I pushed away my anxiety and let a rush of pride and excitement take me. Weeks of practice, giving up her lunch hour, coming on Saturday, staying after school, my daughter had worked hard to earn this opportunity. She would have a wonderful day, rehearsing for the big concert on Saturday and spending time with her friends.
Morning sun lit up the mist over the jungle-covered mountains that rose sharply behind the town. I wouldn't see my daughter again until well after dark. I thought of my own mother. Had she felt like this every time I left on an all-day school trip? Had she felt like this the day she dropped me off at college? When I was the child going away, I had felt nothing but delight in the coming adventure, a thrill for the freedom, for the change, and a sturdy sense of confidence in my ability to take care of myself.
My daughter was fine. I was the one having an emotional moment.
And someday, when my daughter goes away for good, It will be the same. I'll watch her go with fear, pride, and joy all mingled together in wonder at the never-ending cycle of life.