Cara has whizzed in from school, and from finals. I am exhausted, but I don't want to miss a visit with her, so we bake spice cookies today. She tells me about her adventures. Her classes, and her teachers. The girls in her dorm...'L' who is so comfortable with herself that she mooned the RA in the lobby. The girl who goes to bed at 8. Allie, the friend who saran wrapped her door, meaning that Cara woke up and opened her door and found herself trapped inside her room by a duct taped clear wall of saran wrap. About tight-wad girl who always 'forgets' money, although her parents deposit money in an account for her every month. The girl then waits to see who will volunteer to buy her meal or her drink or whatever. We laugh and we bake, and I listen.
Cara has plans for her month off. She's going to Michigan to see her grandfather. She's back here for Christmas, and then she's hopping a college-sponsored bus to New York City with friends, to do New Year's Eve in Times Square. She'll bunk in with her brother, and he'll go into town with her and her friends. She is determined that I should be able to see them all on television. Then she's back here for a while, and then back to college, where she's hopping another bus to go to Washington, DC for Barack Obama's inauguration.
Geoff is having some problems with her independence. She has explained to him that she's young, and she wants to see these things. She's explained that they are dating, but that she doesn't want it to be anything more than that, not right now, that she wants to live, and to experience, to savor the college years. Geoff is not happy. Cara says, matter of factly, 'It won't work. He's a nice person, but I'm not going to be happy if I just stay home and date Geoff. He's not going to be happy unless I do. I'm going to break it off now.'
I look at this girl, and I think that I was never so independent as she is. She is a breath of fresh air, strong, beautiful, sure in her own spirit, ready for whatever adventure awaits. I feel my own exhaustion slipping away a bit, as I drink in the energy of my youngest daughter.