Friday, March 17, 2006

Sending out, Letting go

Daughter Elizabeth has lived in the Boston area for most of the past 4 years. She headed off to college there in the fall of 2002, fell in love with the New England area and has never looked back. I think she would like to be a New Englander for life, and I'd be happy to visit her there.

Toward that end, she's been interviewing for jobs in the area. As a parent, I'd like to think I can solve any problem, any time. My parental confidence was severely shaken this afternoon when the phone rang.

"Mom, could you look up the website for the MBTA?"

It seems that her short foray into the inner city for an interview, which was supposed to be a thing of only a few hours, had suddenly turned into a longer, more complicated excursion. The commuter train which was supposed to whisk her back to the campus area wasn't running. Something about a fatality on the line closing down that track, "until further notice".

I looked up the site and relayed the information I found, which was negligable. I offered alternatives (cab, call a friend, go a different route?) none of which was met with much enthusiasm. She wasn't terribly concerned...just tired and a bit put out that the day was turning out as it was.

Not concerned, except, maybe, for the drunken crowds in the area, dressed in green kilts and celebrating St. Patrick's Day with gusto.

THAT put my "mom radar" into high gear! Suddenly it seemed quite important that I KEEP her on the phone until a decision was made, a cab hailed, a train boarded. Would that my arms were long enough to reach out and carry her safely out of the city. In my soul, I walked beside her, touching her with my voice, if not with my hands. Mercifully, just about that time, a voice came over the loudspeaker, audible even over the phone line, announcing "An alternate train...soon". Elizabeth brought the call to an end and went off to wait for the new train.

Two excruciating hours later, she checked in again to report that the train had been slow, almost crawling along and stopping completely at times, but had, at last, let her off at her usual campus stop. She was tired, cold, hungry and ready to get out of her "interview suit", but none the worse for wear.

And not too likely to go out in search of any festive green beer to round out the day.

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