Once again, we found ourselves at Terminal 4, in the evening hustle and bustle of international departures at JFK. Another year, and another trip our daughter was taking to study abroad, this time heading into a war-torn conflict zone.

We began with a farewell dinner together, the three of us laughing and reminiscing while keeping the undertone of anxiety at bay. Our daughter always wants both of us to see her off at the airport, and we both deeply desire to be there. This is a time for the three of us, our nuclear family still, despite not sharing a home together. She doesn’t ask for step-parents at times like these, though she loves them both dearly; she wants Mommy and Daddy.

We helped her get the baggage weighed in, and of course had to deal with an overcharge:) It’s hard to be away for a year and make the 50 lb. weight limit precisely.

Then came time for goodbyes and the long line to enter the security checkpoint. Multiple hugs and kisses, and she was off on her own, getting her passport and boarding pass ready to display, schlepping her carry-on bag that was bigger than her petite frame……and we, the parents, followed her every move, together. We started to weep a little, then laugh a little, and felt completely adolescent as we each strained for a better viewing point from which to be able to track her movements. She looked for us a couple of times, smiled knowingly, and then was caught up in procedures and moving forward. We were suddenly in the past as she headed for her gate, but we were together as a family even still.