Monday, July 3, 2017

Have Notebook, Will Travel

Packing for the beach, I couldn't find my notebook. As a writer and stationery aficionado, I always have a notebook in progress -- that place where I write down all the miscellany that comes to me over the course of a day. Since my usual spiral-bound notebook has been supplanted by my summer notebook, the former has apparently been tucked away in a safe place, one that didn't spring to mind in the midst of my last-minute packing. Knowing I could not go to the beach for a week without a notebook, I grabbed an old notebook from the counter in my office and tossed it into my bag.

How old a notebook? The photo on the front is of my daughter -- the one who is now a sophomore in college -- at age nine. On the first page of the notebook was a list of summer plans -- camps, play dates, family vacation -- designed to stave off summer boredom, thereby maintaining Mom's sanity.

I don't miss those days. While I enjoyed our summers, it's also nice to have reached a stage where if she's bored, it's up to her to figure something out. That's a double-edged sword, of course, as whatever she figures out often involves car keys, gas money and perhaps a trip to a foreign country.

For the most part, I've embraced this growing-up process, encouraging her burgeoning independence. But lately, things like trips abroad and family vacations on her own terms have tested my carefully crafted Cool Mom facade. My mind grasps these changes and her readiness to tackle them head-on, but my heart is lagging behind.

It will catch up, I know, but in a world that's growing increasingly scary, my poker face is becoming harder and harder to put on. I have faith in my daughter, but now, more than ever, I understand my mom's retort that she trusted me, but not the rest of the world.

It's a refrain I echo to my daughter and to my husband (about my daughter). I want her to move forward boldly and fearlessly, but I also want her to do so intelligently, carefully and perhaps in a bulletproof wardrobe.

That's a pretty tall order for a nineteen-year-old -- especially one I remember so clearly as the nine-year-old on the front of my notebook.

The notebook served me well last week, giving me a place to write blogs and lists, as well as capturing random thoughts and ideas before they drifted off on the ocean breeze. And, while the young adult who accompanied us to the beach has come a long way from the little girl on the cover of my notebook, she was a wonderful travel companion in a completely different way.

In my office at home, I have a bin filled with the notebooks I've used over the years. Some don't make the cut; once all of their contents have been transferred to more permanent and specific homes, they end up in the recycling bin. I know this one will make the cut, though, more because of the little girl who graces the cover than for whatever remains inside. And this week, it earned its keep, even as it brought a little nostalgia along for the ride.

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