Slice of Life Tuesday: Bon voyage, Olivia!



At this time tomorrow, the baby of our family,Olivia, will be arriving in London for her junior year abroad.  This morning, I took a few moments to survey the guest room, Livy’s staging site for all things London bound.

There are neat piles of clothes, documents, jewelry, and books.  And there, lined up against the wall, are pairs of shoes for all seasons and all occasions.

Something about those shoes fills my heart with a bittersweet wistfulness.  I imagine those shoes trudging through the streets of London, Spain, and all those other places Livy wants to travel in this year abroad.  I imagine the experiences she will have, the sights she will see, the things she will learn.  I imagine the  many joys, moments of exhilaration, and times of doubt that she will go through.  And I try to imagine how she will return – changed in some ways, more herself in so many others.

We raise our children to go out into the world and live lives we can only imagine.  All three of our kids have wanted to do just that, and while we glory in their spirit of independence and adventure, we feel the space they leave behind here in the home they were raised.  I feel this when I wander past their empty bedrooms, and I will feel it tonight, when that line of shoes will be packed away in a suitcase jetting towards London.


15 thoughts on “Slice of Life Tuesday: Bon voyage, Olivia!

  1. That line of shoes, a wonderful image, to foreshadow Livy’s adventures in London. Love the passport images you shared. Our children grow up too fast, but it’s wonderful that you’ve given yours such wings.

  2. What a wonderful testament to you and your husband that you have strong independent children. You’re willing to let them be who they are and fly on their own wings but are still there when they need to touch down.

  3. Oh that bitter sweet moment! The letting go to hang on! I have been at this moment as one went off to India and again later as one traveled off to New York for a year or two. They have both returned to our home city to live but they are new and stronger people for their travels. Enjoy their steps in to adulthood!
    Nice post!

  4. Okay – I’m grabbing for a tissue now! I love how the shoes tugged at your heart. I will remember this when I fuss at my boys to put their shoes away (for the hundredth time)! Thank you for sharing this poignant piece. I love it.

  5. A beautiful post on letting go and using the shoes as a metaphor for moving on, Tara. Perfect song to accompany your post. Best wishes to your little one who sets off for a journey of hundreds of steps that will open a new world for her.

  6. I love this line, Tara: And I try to imagine how she will return – changed in some ways, more herself in so many others.

    This will be a wonderful experience for Olivia, I’m sure. She has her backpack and her head filled with everything she needs. This is what we are always dreaming of as parents, I think. That moment when our little ones do jumping out into the world in their shoes.

    Best of luck to her.

  7. You captured all the many different emotions a mother feels when she know the little one is an adult and off to make their own way in the world. Congratulations to you for not trying to sneak into the suitcase and go along for the ride just in case she needs something.

  8. Tara, it was me last year watching my Anne pack to teach in France for a year. I too love my independent daughters and love how they give me a great excuse to travel to visit, too. But it is also great to have them come home. And this week I wrote about about my feet and you wrote about shoes!! FUN!

  9. Bittersweet indeed, Tara. Watching our children move into their own lives makes it so different for us still at home, but still we wouldn’t want it any other way, either. I love the collage of her passport photos. Best of travel wishes to Olivia!

  10. Tara,
    Love seeing and hearing about your family and your farm. For me it was this: ” Livy’s staging site for all things London bound” as I’ve watched my son through various “staging sites”. . . and what a song!

    So quickly they outgrow us . . . yet, forever in our hearts!

  11. Love this, Tara. So excited for Livy, but I also know how bittersweet it is for you. I hope you’ll keep us posted on her adventures, and yours, too.

  12. Will she be near your parents? As parents we have to be prepared to stand strong as roots and hold loosely to their wings. You have taught them well.

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