Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Keep Her Safe, World!



The hardest thing for me to do is to let my children go off into the world. I know I have to do it. But it just wrenches me in a way that is impossible to describe. We spend our lives protecting them. Then at some point we're pushed out of the equation. We are no longer in charge. And while we know, on a deep level, that we've never really been in charge, we have at least had some idea of where in the world they were at any given time. Not so when they hit a certain age. That's when they make their own decisions to expand their universe.  Off they go, and we have no idea where they are. We know what country, but that's about it.

They'll travel in their own way, without benefit of knowing exactly where they will sleep that night. They will meet people without benefit of their parent's spidey sense, hopefully depending on their own. We did our best to develop it in them, after all. We paid for the inoculations, made sure they were carrying "Deet," sent them all the State Department updates, warned them against carrying their passport where it could be lost or stolen. We assure them we will pony up money if it looks like they will run out (and maybe make a poor decision about where to sleep, what to eat.) But after that? We have to let them go...

We ask the world to watch out for them. Keep them safe. Return them to us, please.
So I'm sending it out there -  Please world, watch out for my little girl. She is sweet, kind, a humanitarian. Her mother often learns from her. She's worth protecting. And if I come across yours? I'll be happy to return the favor!

38 comments:

Von said...

You bet it's all part of that great big group of parents with kids travelling, we all look out for them and hope everyone else does the same.Had quite a few pass this way, all good kids and we invited them to phone home.

Alaine said...

Yes, indeed, keep her safe. My first grandson has just got his car licence; I suppose travel might follow - keep him safe, World.

We can't live with this anxiety; they're intelligent kids. I know, they're not 'world-wise' but all we can to is advise them and be there if they call for help.

Natalie said...

Sending a big bubble of protective light. BIG and SPARKLY. ♥

Eternally Distracted said...

That was an amazing post, so lovely. I am sure your daughter will be fine and return safe and sound with many more lessons to teach.

Brian Miller said...

oh how true...my oldest is seven so we have a ways to go before releasing but each day his independence grows...beautiful post...

Elisabeth said...

My little girl is out tonight, until i collect her around midnight, but yours has gone further afield. May she be safe.

We never stop worrying about our children I suspect, until we grow old and/or infirm when they take over and start worrying about us.

Pam said...

I hear you! My youngest is graduating from college in May and going to do an internship in Mongolia!

R.J. said...

It is very easy to relate to the sentiments you so well presented. The last sentence is a wonderful thought. It is a good philosophy to remember that each person is important to their family and friends.

When I was young and foolish, life was a great adventure and I didn't stop to consider how much I worried my parents. Very thoughtful post.

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Such a loving plea ... and one I'm sure as parents we will carry to our deathbed.

There is such a beauty in seeing them fly - and still it tugs at our heart.

What a wonderful opportunity and education for your beautiful daughter!! She is very lucky in so many ways.

Joanne said...

Beautiful thoughts here, one shared by all of us in some way, at some time. Life is sweet and poignant at once, isn't it?

DJan said...

It's never easy letting go of our children, is it? But that is the way the world works. I'm sure she has been fortified by all the things you taught her up to now, and she won't forget you! I was just re-reading some of my old journals and seeing how close I was to my mother in her final years.

Miss Footloose said...

Yes, I know whereof you speak. Have two daughters (grounded now) who went off into the big wide world on their own on various trips abroad. Even though we're globetrotters ourselves, it is never easy.

One of them went off one time on a public transport / cheap sleeps sort of trip through Palestine and Jordan with another friend. She was 19, blue eyes, long blond hair. We let her go.

Well, I have to tell you here it was only for a few days, and she was living with us at the time and we were living in Ramallah, Palestine ourselves. And we knew it was fine, and not dangerous, and it wasn't. But you would not have been able to convince me of that had I not lived in the Middle East myself!

Deborah said...

As soon as we become parents we live with kind of permanent low-level anxiety (that at times zooms off the scale!). When my grandmother was about 85, I asked her if she was afraid of death. She wasn't, she said, except for one thing - she wouldn't know if her children were all right! Having no children then, I was floored by her answer.

I'd take your daughter in, and so will lots of others. She sounds like someone who's got her head firmly attached and will use her smarts and people sense to make her way in the world.

Your love and concern and willingness to let her go are so evident in this post, Nancy. She's lucky to have you as her mom.

L said...

You have put into words what has been going on in my mind for the last few weeks...and very well at that. My daughter is planning to intern in Canada this summer and we live in India.

Protege said...

I have no children of my own, but i think I can completely relate to how it feels to let go of someone you have nourished and protected since they came into this world.;)
It brings back into mind that wonderful quote by Khalil Gibran about children, that I am sure you are familiar with.;)
Thank you so much for stopping by today and for your kind comment.
Happy Easter,
xo
Zuzana

Amy said...

Nancy, I can so identify with your concern. Letting go is the hardest part of parenting - I always wanted to keep my girls in their "nest" safe with me and their dad but that was not, and, of course, shouldn't have been the solution. When our oldest went off with her Spanish teacher and a small group of high school students to Spain and France, I learned painfully how hard it is. Fortunately I didn't know she and a friend got lost in Paris and barely made it on the last subway train to their hotel one night. She had left her wallet with another friend so she had no ID and no money, but she knew enough French to communicate with a policeman who helped them figure out how to catch that last train. Yikes!

I'm sure your daughter will be enriched with this adventure - traveling is so important when you're young. It's a big world out there and it's worth exploring - just don't tell Mom the details 'til you get back!

She Writes said...

Letting go is not easy! The world is a moody place, at best.

Mental P Mama said...

Oh that's a feeling I deal with as well...sending safe vibes to all our babies.

elra said...

I can relate to that. It's hard for me as well, but looking back, I was the same way. Back then, my mom used to say, wait until you have your own children, then you'll understand what I mean. She was right!

Land of shimp said...

Nancy, you've certainly rung a bell with all the moms here. It's so difficult, trusting the world to do kindly by kind people, isn't it? I think our attention is caught by the fact that the bad stuff gets a lot of press. It makes us think of the world as this endlessly threatening place...and you know, there are risks out there.

Yet, when I think of the stories people tell me, even about traveling far more often than, "my pocket was picked" there is a story about someone being tremendously kind.

I used to live next to a man named Leonard, who is a retired civil servant, and loves to travel. Oh how he loves to travel! His companion also loves to travel, and she just as adventurous.

I'm specifically thinking of two stories he told me from a trip to China two years ago. He and Joanne aren't like me when they travel. There are no carefully mapped plans, they don't travel with an interpreter in tow, they go to places that look interesting and try to stay in the "real" areas ...meaning, places where they likely don't speak the native language.

So they got on the wrong bus somewhere in China, and just sort of road along, and road along, not really quite sure what to do because they couldn't ask for directions. Eventually a man who got on the bus spoke enough English to figure out how lost they were, and where they needed to go. He ended up simply guiding them back, taking bus transfers with them. Taking hours out of his day, just to make sure they got where they needed to go.

On another day they came to a trail and proceeded to hike it, climbing up and up, passing signs they could not read all the way up to a sort fortress at the top of the pass....where they encountered armed guards...who promptly set down their AK47s (or whatever BIG guns they had)...downed tools, and prepared tea, which they smilingly shared.

It was only after they returned from the hike that they found out all of the signs were essentially, "No trespassing. Violators will be jailed." (no kidding).

I can't really ease your worries, and god knows I empathize with them, but I could sit here all day and tell you the many, many stories I've been told about traveling. Yes, I do know on person who was robbed abroad...and then I know roughly two dozen stories of how beautifully kind most people of the world are to those they encounter.

Since I can't remove the worry, I thought I'd give those stories to you as a reminder that as scary as the world often seems, it's also often a wonderful place. It's just that the stories of armed guards fixing tea, and providing snacks for trespassers before smilingly wishing them a good trip are somewhat less likely to make the news :-)

May your daughter, and you for that matter, be safe, sound and well loved, all day, every day.

Land of shimp said...

Blast...second time today I've done that...rode along, rode, not road.

Oh my feeble brain.

d page said...

Beautifully said!

Whitney Lee said...

I dread the day I have to let my children go, but I pray that I also have provided them the skills they need to do so confidently. I'm certain you've done that for your girls.

Kathy G said...

Thanks for the wonderful words.

All three of my boys are out on their own, but two of the three have COMPLETELY flown; they're buying (or have bought)houses in a different city. It makes me realize just how little control I have.

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Jayne Martin said...

That made me tear up. I have no kids of my own, but could just feel your love for your daughter through your words. Sending you big hugs...

linda said...

ah yes, do i hear you or do i hear you...i am yet to see my youngest, my little girl who definitely is not little anymore but very grown up, fly the nest, but her two brothers have been gone since they hit graduation from highschool practically...it's strange but my oldest son, who has been living in singapore for 18 months now, is 35 years old and still, when they go here there and everywhere and i don't know where and also know they are out of range for a cell phone, which is often, i think about them--well, him to be honest--and feel sad...talk to dear husband who gets me to be sensible with "do you want them living HERE????" that generally brings me to my senses but not for long.. ;) the ones i really pine for are the gkids....sniff sniff

Lindz said...

She's going to have a wonderful time and we all know she'll have tons of adventures.

ds said...

Consider it done. She'll be safe, have a blast & when she comes home you'll wonder what you were so worried about (NOT). I'm with you, I get you, and in this instance, I am you!

Nancy said...

Thanks! It's comforting to know you have friends out there in the world. And people who can understand when you're feeling vulnerable. It does help!

Marguerite said...

I know how difficult it is to let go, but she'll be fine! And I'm sure she'll reflect on the many lessons that you've taught her. Wishing your lovely daughter a wonderful adventure!

Reya Mellicker said...

Sending safe, protective energy in her direction.

I can't imagine how hard it would be to let go. You're doing a great job! You should be proud.

karmacat said...

Hi Nancy. Thanks for dropping by my blog via Hilary...I have so much to learn in the blogging world.
I spent years worrying about my children and praying all would work out for them and still do. Life has moved forward and now we have eight grandchildren and the worrying goes on.
You will always worry, because you love someone and that is good.
I believe your daughter will learn lots and return in safe hands.

gayle said...

I know how hard this is....I did it 2 times!! Yours will be fine!!

Ruth said...

I've been thinking a lot lately about how we are shaped by so many people and factors. Our kids belong to the world, and even when they're on our own streets they might be hurt (like my story of the boy I babysat).

Bless your girl. If I see her, I'll look out for her.

Hilary said...

I don't think the worrying ever ends. We just learn how to compartmentalize it better as time goes on. Eventually we'll worry about whether or not they'll chose the right nursing home for us. ;)

She'll be fine, Nancy. She's learned from the best.

Lori ann said...

that made me cry nancy. i feel this all the time. i wonder why i keep missing posts. google drives me crazy sometimes.
yes, keep her safe, darling girl.
love,
lori

Mel said...

A wonderful post. I'm going to have to reference it again in a few years when my first goes off into the world. I wonder how any mother ever lets her children go be free in the world without worrying or mourning. I look forward to reading your older posts, lovely to meet you, I wish your children grand, safe lives out there.