Fourier Analysis is a mathematical tool which can do a number of things: separate out signals from noise; help identify patterns or trends in data; filter out all unwanted data and focus on a single signal; use approximations to make generalizations; make approximations of real world signals (think electronic music); combine harmonics to get a stronger signal. That's what I'll be trying to do here!! Won't you join me with your comments?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Get Over It!!

As your kids grow up, it is sometimes hard to remember those "moments" that are indicators of significant change.  This week my kids are preparing to go off for two weeks to another ESA Space Camp.  It is a space-themed camp for the kids of ESA employees, held in a different member country every year.  It includes not only daily lessons but also sports and culture activities.  I am always amazed at how my girls come back each year more mature, more world-wise, and full of amazing stories about their experiences.  I soooooo want to go to Space Camp too!!

Today a post from one of my dear friends about her 8-year-old daughter's first sleepover brought back the memory of DD1 wanting to go to her first Space Camp.  The camp is open to ESA kids between ages 8-17.  So the first year she was eligible, DH brought home the description and we discussed it.  DD1 heard and was asking about it.  While it sounded really great,  I was concerned as this one was being held on the west coast of France and involved a change of planes at the Paris airport, and was really quite far away if anything went wrong.  And while DD1 had been on a number of sleepovers,  she had never been apart from one of us for more than a week and I was not really sure she was ready.  Or to be honest,  I was not quite ready for this level of independence.  DH was not really sure how he felt about it, but as he travels a lot and is away from us for longer periods of time,  his separation anxiety was not at the same level as mine.  We discussed it and decided that we would wait for a year and let her go for the first time the following summer.

When we broke the news to DD1,  I explained to her that because it was so far away, there would be no chance for her to come home if she got homesick or didn't want to stay, so we didn't want to take that risk this time.  DD1 was a bit outraged, insisting that she would not want to come back, even if she was homesick, and that she really wanted to go.  I tried a different tactic, explaining that the food would be very different and that she would not speak the language there in France and that there would be a lot of very different things that would be unfamiliar to her, that she would be in a strange environment and that she might get a bit timid or scared.  She countered with the argument that if there was something that she didn't know about that she would just ask someone, and that even if there was nothing else to eat, that she could eat "French fries"!!  (How does a parent argue with that, now I ask you?)  Even explaining to her that she did not know any of the other kids and would not have any friends there, was met with her insistence that she would make new friends.

I very quickly ran out of arguments when faced with my very determined offspring who was sure this was something she did not want to miss out on.  Finally, when she felt she had convinced me that there was no real reason to keep her from attending, I had to tell her the real underlying reason that I did not want her to go.  "Sweetie," I said, "I know you think you will be fine there, and that you will not really miss us too much.  And I know you are already so grown-up that you could probably handle this strange new experience.  And I know that you think that you are ready to go away and leave us for two weeks,  but really and truly, I don't think that I am ready for you to be so far away from me.  I won't be able to talk to you every day, maybe only once in the two weeks you are gone.  I won't be able to tell you goodnight, and to hear about all your adventures, or to be able to explain things to you and make sure you are OK.  So I don't think you should go, not because you are not ready to go, but because I am not ready to let you go."   I gave her a big hug, trying to fight back my tears, and she patted me on the back and I let out a sigh, thinking the discussion had ended.

Then she stepped back from me.  Put her hands on her hips, looked over at her Dad, then back at me and said, "Mom, GET OVER IT!"

Of course my jaw dropped, and out of the corner of my eye I caught DH struggling to keep a straight face. She was so much like me, using the same phrase I so often used with whiny kids when I wanted to end an argument.  Very clearly we had reached one of those defining moments where I felt an "apron string" snap in separation as my child took another step on her path away from me and into her own future.  Of course she attended, and yes she did have a couple of evenings of real homesickness.  But I am sure it was worse for me as I poured over the photo updates that came daily from the camp counselors. It was so easy to identify DD1 in the crowd of kids as she was the smallest, the camp T-shirt hanging down to her knees, despite being the smallest size.  And the phone call halfway thru she sounded so very young, her voice catching to let me know that she was a bit sad, but also determined to overcome her homesickness.  And it truly was a fantastic time, one that she still remembers and talks about.

I still get choked up at recalling the emotions that were so raw, the feeling that my heart was being torn open as I let her walk away from me at the airport.  But also the pride that helped to fill up those wounds as I saw my big girl exerting her independence and demonstrating the skills we have taught her to help her survive in the world.  My maternal grandmother always used to say that raising kids was just a long series of "letting go's".  How right she was!

So I tell my friend that she should not worry, it really will be OK, and that she just needs to take a deep breath and heed my child's advice, knowing full well that it is something I still have to say to myself as I watch my girls going off into the wide world.