Chapter 31 - Letters

From Mom

July 9, 1997

Dear Sara,
This summer your brother Matthew is philosophically opposed to swatting flies and we have had several incidents of him yelling at Jake that he is a murderer. It all makes for a lot of laughing if I can only step back from the whole situation.

I just love your web page. I read it and cried, especially the part about you being a joyful girl. How did that ever happen? I really do see a book in this adventure, and that is not only motherly pride. Daddy says it's been done, but I reminded him that you are probably one of the youngest people to do this alone. It's so amazing that you are doing this. It motivates us all. When Matt got tired on a long motorcycle ride with Dad from New Jersey to New York, he thought of you riding your bicycle and didn't complain. And when I force myself to swim an extra lap in the mornings I am thinking of you…

The other night at Donna’s house I was telling Sahage about your emotional challenges along the way—how you handle the men and the dogs—and then I picked up on Terry in the corner of the room talking about bike mechanics with someone. I talk about your angst; Dad talks about your gear ratios… Anyway, I was blabbering on about you and I asked Sahage to forgive me, because "…when I talk about Sara it makes her seem real."

One thing I've earned, as a result of your bike ride, is the title “She-let-her-go.” I’ve lost track of how many people have commented on my/our ability to “let her go.” What choice did we have, anyway? You may be under the legal age of adulthood, but you are an adult. You behave like an adult. Now that you’re closer to Oregon, people are congratulating me for my faith in my child. This is nice of course, but I can’t help wondering what kind of comments I would receive if (God Forbid) something awful happens. The whole point of parenthood (I thought) was to raise a child to have the sense to make her own decisions. When you were four and we told people we were homeschooling they chided me for being overprotective. Then last spring when I told people about the trip they said, "You’re letting her do WHAT?"

…We love you and miss you and we all send kisses,
Love, Mom, Dad, Jake, April, Matt, Loren, and the cats.