If you’re a regular follower, you know my daughter Allie is spending her junior year of high school in the Czech Republic. She’s a foreign exchange student, sponsored by the Rotary Club. She’ll be returning in a few months. Please indulge me in a shared letter to her, if you don’t mind. I sometimes find people don’t quite comprehend why I’d allow my daughter to travel so far away for such a length of time. Yet, if you knew what the past couple of years have been like for her and for us, you’d most likely understand it was the absolute best scenario for her. She needed the time away. And while it’s been crazy difficult for me, her mother left behind, it’s been such a blessing to observe her growth and see her travel to so many exciting places. Like Vienna and Prague and soon other parts of Europe as well.

Dear Al,

I believe you know I took a trip last weekend with a group of 4th and 5th graders. At least one of the girls was in awe of the Cincinnati skyline. Apparently she had never experienced anything like it. It was exciting, yet kind of sad. Her mom didn’t get to be there to observe her joy. Actually, a couple of the girls who went have mothers living in Mexico. So, they don’t get to see them. Period. And it struck me that even though you’re far away and I miss you greatly, you’ll be home in July. I will see you and hug you and make dinner for you then. While I don’t get to share in all the wonderful opportunities you’re experiencing, I am so glad you’ve been afforded this chance. 

Bridge from Kentucky to Ohio.

It’s in the day to day I miss you the most. The things I experience here that I know you would enjoy being a part of, like eating at Vinaigrette, a new salad restaurant downtown. Or the fact I plan to start a bookclub this summer for middle school girls. I can’t wait to hear your book recommendations, knowing full well they’ll all be John Green books. Or the time this winter, after we got all that snow and a man knocked on the front door. Why I answered, I don’t know. He said, “Hey baby, we’re out shoveling snow and sh*t. Would you like us to shovel for you?”  I kindly told him I could handle it. I probably should have kindly told him not to call me “baby”. 

funny stories from my work day, like Maggie and I photographing each other on an unnamed coworker’s motorcycle while no one was paying attention

biker chick
Me as a biker chick.

eating donuts from our donut store 

walking CJ around Castlewood Park

seeing prom photos of your friends on Facebook,wondering if you’d have gone if you were here

making homemade pizza 

driving to Louisville for Jamie’s various musical performances

you telling me, “I need to go to Target”

going to boxing class together

Hannah and I sharing a cinnamon roll at National Boulangerie….can’t wait to introduce you to one

Sometimes, sometimes, I wonder if I have changed. I know you have. You couldn’t see so many awesome (you love it when I use that word) things and not change. You have matured. Made a way for yourself, so to speak. Learned to handle situations you’ve never before had to. But me….will you find me different? Happier? More relaxed? Content? Or antsy to move on to something else? How will I seem to you, one of the few people who knows me best? After all these months, knowing full well what they’ve meant. You have a way of seeing me like others can’t. Most likely because you are a part of me.

So there’s that. The questions before us. Who will we be after we’ve been so far from each other? Both having grown more independent. What will Lexington seem like after walking the streets of Vienna? And seeing Rome. Will any American church ever look the same after seeing Rome? I imagine not. But Lexington is your home. For now. Until you choose another. 

Enough of the deep stuff. Know I miss you. In the ordinary. The mundane. Half priced Sonic shakes and showing you the navy Converse Kelly B got me at Goodwill. Yes, now I have two pairs! I miss running with you…..you way ahead because you’re young, ponytail swishing behind you. Maybe we can do the Midsummer Night’s Run in August. You’ll be back. And after the race I’ll make you watch “Legends of the Fall” and lecture you on all the reasons the heroine should not have chosen Brad Pitt’s character (I did this to Hannah but she was snowed in with me and had no choice). Then read you a few quotes from whatever book I’m reading. Then leave you alone so you can say good night.

I don’t think Allie particularly likes this photo. I believe she said it was “rach”.

Good night for now, sweet Allie. Know I’ve been missing you since you left.

Thank you dear reader, for sharing a bit in our lives.

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