As a write this, our sixteen year old, Camille, is flying to Sri Lanka! What? My middle sausage all the way on the other side of the world?
She and her two besties jetted off this morning (we all woke up at 4:00am to take her to the airport. a wee bit too early). They are going to Sri Lanka on a Round Square service trip to help build and repair an elephant sanctuary in the middle of the country. It is going to be hard, hot work in an extremely isolated location.
I completely encouraged her to go, even though as parents I think a part of us only feels at ease when all our chicks are home in their nest.
I’m realizing though that for my girls, the world is their home. Just this year alone Camille has traveled to Bermuda (month long exchange), France, Greece, Italy, Sweden, Iceland, Hong Kong, and now Sri Lanka. Also within Canada she visited Montréal, Toronto, and Kingston. She traveled to India two years ago. She is Lucky with a capital ‘L’.
Then there’s our big sausage who will be leaving at the beginning of January for a six month backpacking trip in Asia. Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia...her trip involves two volunteering stints - one with elephants up in Chang Mai, and one not far from Phuket teaching children English and working at a nearby refugee camp.
I’m not much of a worrier about my girls but I have to admit with these two epic trips I will be happy to see them home safe and sound. At the same time I am thrilled for them. In my experience travel is the best education ever. I root for them them to grasp every travel opportunity they can. That’s the push and pull of parenthood.
As Helen Keller said “life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”
The thing is, life will pull you into daring adventures whether you like it or not. Getting married? Daring Adventure. Moving? Daring Adventure. Pregnant? Daring (and at times terrifying) adventure. Breaking up? Daring Adventure. Getting a liver transplant? Daring Adventure.
You can either embrace the crazy ride, or feel resist and feel like you are going to vomit the entire time.
I want the daring adventure for my daughters. I want them to learn early on to embrace the huge. looping, out-of-control roller coaster of life. I want them to love the feeling of the wind whipping through their hair.