Our world is shrinking. We’re part of a “global community.” But does that really mean we have to let our children fly thousands of miles away from us?
Today, my youngest son boards a plane with two stops before arriving in the Middle East for a three-week educational tour. I’m excited for him – thrilled that he’s enjoying opportunities I’ve never had in my own life.
This is the appropriate response from a mature and caring mother, right?
Before you stand in awe of my perceived awesomeness, let me tell you this isn’t my first experience with sending my son on an international trip.
Rewind eight years. The boy is not even 13 yet, but one of his friends went to Europe as a People-to-People ambassador and when he was nominated, he could focus on nothing else. He’d endured a few tough years with medical problems, and it warmed our hearts to see him lively again.
But 16 days in Japan? Really? This is what a mother must allow her baby boy to do in order to recharge his enthusiasm for life?
I’ve never been one of those mothers who hovers over her children. I had two boys. When they fell down and cried, I picked them up, checked out the injury and kissed it better. Never made a big deal.
The day my four-year-old baby boy plunged from our second floor window was a different story. Not a day I ever hope to relive. Recalling it makes me sympathize with parents who have seriously ill or injured young children. He fell. I could do nothing.
Back to Japan. My husband and I planned a trip during five days of my son’s international adventure. I figured distraction might help me cope with any separation anxiety.
We send him off with a wing and a prayer. News flash. Earthquake rocks Japan.
God has such an incredible sense of humor, doesn’t he? My son didn’t feel said earthquake but he did have to remain on his plane away from the terminal buildings for an hour or more. Safety first and all that.
After an earthquake, I figured nothing else could shake me.
Juniors at the college he attends are invited to travel internationally as soon as school ends for the year. It’s a huge deal. Sophomores set up tents in the quad to be first in line at the booths hosting the trip they want to take.
My son’s first choice: Israel and Jordan.
Excellent choice. I’m slightly jealous because I’ve always wanted to go to Israel. In fact, I could use the firsthand experience of the Holy Lands for the book I’m writing set in first century Palestine. What a great opportunity for him.
Mom, Israel and Jordan. You know, where SCUD missiles are fired with regularity and terrorist bombings are too commonplace to make the news.
Right. No worries. Remember the earthquake?
The truth I learned that summer day when this same son flew from the window and broke his leg remains unchanged:
I can’t protect my children. I believe in a God who can, so I entrust my precious sons into the omnipotent and omnipresent care of the Almighty.
In fact, I hope my youngest nestling brings back some pictures that will help me visualize the setting of the book I’m writing. He will come home – in one piece – with stories to last a lifetime.
What experiences have made you anxious? Any advice for alleviating that worry?