wheels up

May 31st, 2018

The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever
to be
able to do it. — J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

Last weekend I got on a plane and paid close attention to the takeoff. The explosive roar as the engines throttled up. The rattle and shake as you accelerate down the runway. The bounce, the din, the doubt. The outcome of the whole endeavor doesn’t seem very promising at this point. Then, when you’re about to run out of runway, the lift of the wings overcomes gravity and the ride goes suddenly smooth. You’re wheels up, in flight.

The day before, I’d walked into the house and my daughter calmly announced, “I cleaned my bedroom.” This is something I might ask her to do, oh, about nineteen times a day. Here she had done it without provocation, and was so quietly pleased that she wanted to show me. I stepped into a room devoid of any scrap of her school days. No pencils, pens, or spirals. No notes, no lists, no riot of papers. Counters empty, drawers organized, clutter disposed.

In that moment I realized we’d cleared the runway.

Today is her last day of high school. An on-time departure.


  1. I’m having that same feeling, Maezen. No tissue on the floor that missed the waste basket, no Depends to buy, no Miralax to mix up, no bedding to get just right, no food to cut up, no halls to walk. The runway has been cleared. I thought I was ready.

    Comment by Gretchen Staebler — May 31, 2018 @ 4:28 am

  2. Congratulations! You did it!

    Comment by Larry — May 31, 2018 @ 7:48 am

  3. A new chapter for both of you! My daughter and her two. It’s lived with me forever it seemed and they moved out no too far away but I struggled with the empty rooms, and the shared time with them all. I changed a lot and prayed and gardened and read snd slowly emotions and change was accepted.

    Comment by Meera — May 31, 2018 @ 7:53 am

  4. It seems so hard to accept when it’s in the future but when take-off happens, we live in the moment!

    Comment by Doreen — May 31, 2018 @ 8:38 am

  5. Ahhh yes, the glory of “on time departures”. It’s inevitable. But not full of bless like parents dream. The ache starts. That deadly quiet now that you so longed for. The paint chips that slips from from your hands, when all you could think of was re-decorating. The phone that goes silent while you check to see if you have service. Finally, remembering your own departure. The thrill of freedom, no more checking in no more phone calls, sleeping in, and doing exactly what you want, when you want. Glorious freedom. But not really. Yes, on time departure, but there is turbulence ahead. No one can predict how rough the journey will be, for sure their will be bumps along the way.

    Comment by Vivian Hatfield — May 31, 2018 @ 9:13 am

  6. This big landing has occurred and the next takeoff will begin soon. Takeoffs and landings. What a path!!!Congratulations to you both!

    Comment by Jennie — June 1, 2018 @ 5:48 am

  7. O my, I think my heart would have stopped for a moment. As if the wind is blown out of you.
    When I left home I never thought that I would be missed. Now I realise that I was missed. And loved. And how fortunate I was to step out into the world with so much faith, hope and confidence. I hope your daughter feels that as well,
    Bon Voyage Georgia!

    Comment by Sim — June 3, 2018 @ 2:28 pm

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