So all things considered, I did really well while Sylvia was gone. There were no tearful goodbyes at the airport when she left, we kept in touch while she was gone, and while I thought of her often, I was okay with it. Part of that, I'm sure, was because I was pretty busy myself, but also, I just didn't see any reason to worry.
I picked her up at the airport, and we went to my parents' house so she could tell all of us at once about her trip. She endured all of our questions, shared her funny stories, and had gifts for all of us.
When we got home, I got all sappy and held back the tears. She'd done it. She'd packed herself (wouldn't even let me check her suitcase), had this amazing trip, and made it back all in one piece. She'd even handled our "interrogation" with no eye-rolling! And the gifts she'd picked out for each of us were just perfect; so thoughtful, and clearly selected with a lot of love.
How did she get to be this mature?
Riley and I spent some time looking at a baby pic of Sylvia that had been returned from the yearbook committee right before she left. It seems like just yesterday she was that little girl, not a care in the world, no thoughts of future beyond the next minute. Now, she's old enough to pack for a 6-day trip without any help from Mom, experience new sights and food without anyone coaxing her to just try it, and perform a dance number that brought the house to a standing ovation.
Still, my sappiness isn't one of longing for those days. Just overwhelming pride in what she's accomplished. And gratitude that I've been there every step of the way.