Dear readers: As I think about the upcoming Mother’s Day, I’m reminded of one of my more difficult mothering times–almost three years ago, exactly. Husband and I put our older son–15 years old at the time–on a plane to Chile for 25 days. Alone. His idea, not ours. To help me deal with this back then, I wrote him a letter. (With his upcoming high school graduation only a few weeks away and college a couple months later, I have a feeling I will be “writing lots of letters.” Please bear with me.
Over the last few years, you’ve been slowly earning our trust. We have quite a nice stash built up, and so when you said you wanted to go to a country and be immersed in the Spanish language and a different culture, there was nothing to keep us from letting you go. Except I didn’t want you to. Unfortunately, I know that’s not a good enough reason for an almost 16-year old. And so, soon very soon, you will be walking down that ramp to step on a jumbo airline, taking you far away from everything familiar.
Here are some things that I want to impress/remind/tell you to help with your trip (and I won’t even mention laundry, though you know I’m dying to).
I know this list will not be complete, because my lists never are, but here it is so far:
- Don’t stress over the small things, which is pretty much everything. There is nothing you can’t solve when you call on our heavenly Father for guidance.
- Be flexible. It may mean waiting when you don’t want to wait; or working when you don’t want to work; or eating something you’ve never seen before. Do it all, and try to smile while you’re at it.
- Please pick up after yourself . . . and others, without them having to ask you first.
- Don’t be afraid to ask a question. Or two. Or three. And it’s always okay to say, “I don’t know.”
- Admit you’re wrong when you’re wrong. (While it’s a very grown-up thing to do, a lot of grown-ups have not yet learned this.)
- Take pictures. Take notes. Take time to record your adventure. Because seriously, when you are back home and we are asking you questions, “fine” and “it was good” is not going to cut it.
- It’s okay to fail and make mistakes. In fact, it’s a necessary part of growth. Always lean on God, but particularly during those times of struggle. That’s what He’s there for.
- Always be kind and generous, in every circumstance.
- Finally, never forget how much Our Father loves you. Where you are at this moment. With all your doubts and questions. With all your energy and enthusiasm. The bad, the good. All of it. So share that love with others.
We’ll miss you more than you can understand . . . that is, until you are doing this with your child, decades from now. We are with you and will be praying for you always.
Love and more
Mom and dad