Yesterday, we drove our daughter Lauren (16 years old) to the airport. We checked her in and then said good-bye as she made her way through security. She was going on a big, HUGE adventure all by herself.
Lauren traveled to Spain, switching planes and terminals in Heathrow, to arrive in a small, Northern town in Spain (Asturias) to visit a former exchange student who lived in our home for 6 months. Isabel and Lauren became fast friends in 2016 and have Skyped or texted every single day since Isabel returned to Spain. Last January, Lauren asked me if she could go visit Isabel and I hesitated. The trip would require two plane changes–one in Canada and one in London Heathrow. However, Lauren assured me she was able to do this. She argued that she has traveled internationally with us for years and that next year she would be going off to university by herself. She assured me that she was ready.
But was I?
I have longed encouraged parents to let their children grow. To not overprotect them. To let them have adventures. To encourage their children to explore the boundaries of their comfort zones. This is how children grow and develop self-efficacy I argue constantly. However, when it came time for me to follow my own advice–I faltered. I was scared. Scenes from Liam Neeson’s movie “Taken” flashed through my mind.
But, in the end, I agreed to let her go.
The last 18 hours have been excruciating for me. I could not sleep last night. I texted Lauren constantly while in Heathrow. I texted Isabel’s mother to ensure they would be at the airport on time. I tracked Lauren’s movements on “Find Friends.” I gave her a VISA card and my Interac card and Global Health Insurance and cash money…. I sent her off with a rosary blessed by His Holiness Pope Francis to keep her safe and to ward off danger.
I needn’t have worried. Lauren was ready. She did it! She has grown–and so have I!