The year of preparation definitely helped me get ready to set Jessica on the road to adulthood, but it didn't offer any ways to make this initial break achievable or even possible. If only my heart could absorb this growth and change that was about to occur. I never gave up...I kept processing this until the day we packed up our car and headed off to Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. What a trip! We left at night, trying to avoid as much traffic as possible, and since this was in the time before GPS, we faithfully followed our trusty little map from AAA. The best thing I can say about our trip out to Washington was that it was uneventful...until it was time to actually drive in DC traffic. Oh my, nothing could have prepared us for the speed, disregard for rules of the road, and total chaos that is known as driving in Washington. I arrived at our country's capital feeling a bit like a fish out of water. I felt like such a Midwesterner! I truly wasn't accustomed to being surrounded by people moving at such a fast pace, but I was most definitely intrigued by the city. It had a wide diversity of nationalities as well as all that is entailed in being our nation's capital...so much to see and do and our time in this bustling city was so limited.
We stopped at a MacDonald's on the way to Jessica's dorm, and we were greeted as we got out of our car by a police officer who was wearing a bullet-proof vest and acting as an escort for people like us who were "new" to the neighborhood. He suggested that next time we may want to choose a different location for getting a meal. Now there's something I had never seen in Madison! Is this giving you an idea of why I felt like a fish out of water? Soon after that, we had to wait for a very l-o-n-g time in the hot sun for another police officer to arrive because we witnessed a car accident...remember the crazy driving I mentioned?
After finally getting Jessica settled into her new home, we became typical tourists as we went out for an entire day of sightseeing, taking in all the major highlights found throughout the city. We even went to the top of the Washington Monument where Jessica was able to point out the CUA campus far off in the distance. This was all a fun distraction, but in the corners of my mind I was keenly aware of the real reason for being in DC...we were there to transport our daughter to college, release this mature young lady from childhood, and set her free to continue her grown-up journey to adulthood. Those were some heavy duty responsibilities which would challenge me more than I could have ever imagined!