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Here they come!  The future leaders of America, walking to the bus.

And here’s the bus.  I watched my son climb onto this big, yellow bus that will transport him, 21 other students, and not a little piece, but a big, enormous piece of my heart, away from home.

Why is he going on this bus?  He is going on a school trip to participate in Model Congress at Rutgers University.

What is Model Congress, you ask?  High school students from across the northeastern US meet and simulate US Congress sessions, where they work as Senators or Representatives and debate, discuss, and compromise to solve current problems in America, while trying to keep their constituents and their political parties happy.

Ba ha ha ha ha and good luck (bonne chance).  That’s all I have to say about that!  Keeping the constituents AND the political party happy are mutually exclusive, I do believe.

By the end of the four-day meeting, they will have drafted and passed bills and hopefully, learned a lot about public speaking, written and verbal communication, team-building, problem-solving, critical thinking, leadership, public service, and most importantly, how to share a room with three other teen-aged boys.

All valuable, life lessons.

And there goes the bus, and my boy, and the piece of my heart.

Away from the school, onto the highway, and through the Delaware Water Gap, into New Jersey, and the world beyond.

It seems like just yesterday that I put him on one of those big, yellow buses for the first time.  And it wasn’t any easier today than it was ten years ago. The same feelings, only stronger.  Excited for him to be going, but welling up with tears because he’s growing up so fast.  He was just a baby not too long ago!  In three more years, he’ll be leaving for college and starting his own life.

He will return from this trip in four days.  What will I do when he leaves for college and may not be back for four years, or forever?

Please excuse me (excusez-moi s’il vous plaît) while I go get another box of tissues…