Saturday, August 30, 2008

Good-bye, little bird...and don't forget to fly home.

(My youngest daughter playing Chava in a summer production of Fiddler on the Roof.)

When you were barely 6 months old, I bundled you up and took you on the train from Tours to Paris to get your American birth certificate and Social Security number.

A formality. Just a bunch of papers. A long day.

For years, I never really thought of you as American. You've always spoken perfect French, of course, with no American accent -- amazing! You look so French, too. And you were always referred to as "one of the French girls" whenever I took you and your sister back to the USA.

Little by little, the American side of your dual nationality pushed its way out, and four years ago your 6th-grader's voice announced to me that you wanted to spend your sophomore year in the USA.

An interesting idea. A fantasy. It would go away.

It didn't.

So, after years of nurturing this plan, after two months of transition, our family came back from our American summer notably lighter.

I'm happy for you. I know you'll love your new school -- it's one of the best around. I should know: I went there as a student and spent eight blissful years teaching there:


A long hallway that will bring you plenty of memories.

"Je m'envole," I saw you write this summer as a photo caption on MySpace, Facebook or some such. That's a wonderful feeling.

I hope you can keep it up all year, but there may be a few times when you get the blues:

But you will have four generations of your American family there to buck you up.

And we'll be here too, of course: across the miles, across the ocean, across the wires.

22 comments:

Marie Reed said...

What a gorgeous daughter you have! I can't wait to hear about all of her adventures!

Randal Graves said...

Now there's quite a change to deal with. Bonne chance à tous !

Steve H. said...

What a sweet post!

How exciting for her, but how brave and loving of you and T. to give her this opportunity -- one she will surely remember for the rest of her life!

Alison said...

Sweet, sweet. She's going to be fine, and so are you.

Megan said...

Oh, how nice for her. I hope my kids (if I ever have any) will be able to do the same, either in high school or after the bac. American high school is so different than in France.

Clare said...

DD goes into 4° next week. She's already planning ahead! I too think I'll loose her after Lycee to the UK, but doing what she has yet to decide.

I think the opportunities for dual citizenship children/teenagers are endless!

Caffienated Cowgirl said...

Bravo to that brave young girl! It will be quite a year for her, but such an eye-opener as well.

Loulou said...

This was lovely to read.
I can get a sense of your excitement for your daughter, yet how much you will miss her. Your home must feel strange.
Her year with your family will be amazing! I think it is wonderful that you've let her go...

Ksam said...

Aw, this was really sweet. I hope she has a fantastic year in the US!

The Duchess said...

Wow! What an amazing year, such a change, for both of you. I know deep down that my girls may want to do this one day, and in fact I hope they do.
But still doesn't make it any easier to be seperated, I'm sure. At least you know she is surrounded by family and familiarity.
Hope she has a great year!

tut-tut said...

A beautiful child, and what a wonderful year, especially with family all around.

wcs said...

Welcome back to France! The photo of your daughter with Eeyore is terrific!

spacedlaw said...

A challenge for all of you!
It is good that she shall have family locally to help her find her bearings.

Tinsie said...

How exciting! I'm sure your daughter will have a fantastic time studying in the US.

Welcome back to the Continent :-)

Leesa said...

Oh WOW! I am very excited for her... What a new experience that will be to attend school in the U.S. after growing up in France!! I know all will be well for her... I am sure it's hard for you, though! Keep us posted... And, if she decides to start a blog, send us the link... Take care, Leesa

maggie said...

Betty:
Hi!

Cathy sent me the link to your blog. Love what you wrote abt. Daphne. She's going to have a fabulous year! Good for you guys, letting her have this experience. I know both Thome/Carlson households are loving the experience as well.

XO-
Maggie

Betty C. said...

Thanks for the avalanche of comments and support!

We are all doing fine. My daughter's first week of school in the USA went very well. It's an adjustment on our side, but it is so fun to hear about her experience that that makes up for missing her.

And of course I finally got an MSN Messenger account!

poppy fields said...

Oh Betty, this post is wonderful. I hope maybe one day one of my daughter's will choose to do the same. I hope she has a great year.

Nicole said...

Lovely post. Your daughter is so beautiful. And Somewhat French looking... yet American too. She is lucky to have both cultures.

Having just a 4 year old and a 2 year old... I can't imagine the separation anxiety I would have. Your daughter is older but still that 6 month old you held that day in Paris.

Jann said...

boo-hoo........I know you will miss her.......what a beautiful young lady.........that goodness for airplanes and phones! We really are not far from anywhere anymore~

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

I'm late, but this is a lovely post, Betty, and your daughter is beautiful.

Betty C. said...

Mimi -- Mieux vaut tard que jamais!