Tuesday morning, I hauled out of bed at 5 AM. I went down to have breakfast with Cara at college.
A while back, Cara, in keeping with her RA position, had dealt with a very angry boy. Her intent was to calm him down before allowing him to walk back out into the hall. His rage had made her fearful for her girls. She ended up soothing a very detailed confession right out of a rapist. The trial was to be Tuesday. The boy is no longer at the college, but the college has been very careful about assuring Cara's safety. The police were escorting her to the courthouse.
I knew that she would be a little stressed, even though she is one of the most unflappable kids you'd ever want to know. We had a long leisurely breakfast and talked. We walked around campus, and it pleased me to see her striding confidently. She has 29 girls under her care, and they call her 'Mom'. She is popular and confident. She is smart. Level headed. This tiny little thing comes only up to my nose (...and I, myself, am considered short...) but she is fearless.
Driving home, I realized (again) that Cara is grown up now. She no longer needs me. But there was an e-mail waiting for me. It meant a lot to her that I had driven all the way down to be with her, she said. She loves college and was glad to have a chance to show me 'her world'.
It made me cry a little. She is grown up. She doesn't need me. But she still wants me around.
...And the feeling is mutual.
PS: The trial was postponed. Cara wailed about the classes she had missed, a big oral presentation, etc. "I know, I know," I said, "rapists are just so self centered and inconsiderate..."