Dear Parents of Participants Traveling on the GCS Trip to Switzerland, Italy and France:
As the trip draws near, I want you to know something important. If you’re starting to feel a bit panic stricken, if you’re thinking “why did I ever agree to let my child go on this trip?”, if you’re wishing you were going too so that you could ensure his or her safety, please know that you are completely normal.
I received this email message from a parent yesterday,
My husband seems fine about the trip but I’m really worried. I’m doing my best to hide it. Please take care of my baby!
And this from another parent today,
I know I have always told my kids to go places when they had the chance, but! Please be careful, stay in a group, listen to instructions, don’t be going out at night in a strange country, keep _______ right by your side at all times. I have been praying and will continue praying for a safe trip for all going. I’m getting a little crazy now so I will close. BE CAREFUL!!!!
I understand this feeling of anxiety and fear only too well. Your head tells you it’s the right thing to do, sending your child out into the big world to experience other places and cultures first hand. You want your kid to be brave and strong and enjoy all that life has to offer. But your heart screams, “please don’t let anything bad happen to my precious child!” and you wish you could just take it all back, keeping your kid at home where you know what to expect.
When our daughter was only eight years old (8 years old!), my in-laws prevailed upon me to take her to Germany where my mother-in-law maintains her family home. I’d never been out of the country and I was terrified. Had my husband not insisted, I would never have agreed. I desperately needed my mother-in-law to call me once they had safely landed. As a frugal German, this was simply not done–of course they’d be fine, she wasn’t paying for an international phone call and where would she find a pay phone?! I think she saw the look of abject fear in my eyes and relented. Here’s what I need you to know. Once I received that phone call and I knew that my daughter had arrived safely, was on solid ground in a place far away but not all that different from Western New York, I was fine. I was delighted to know she would have this opportunity and I knew it was good parenting, a way to say to my child, “you are strong and capable and you should go out and grab life for all that it has to offer.”
And yet every time my children travel, the two to three days prior to departure, I regret the decision to go and worry myself sick. It’s normal. It will pass. And I will post to the blog at the first possible opportunity. Just realize that we begin touring (without a shower!) on Saturday morning. We won’t check into a hotel until Saturday night. At first sign of an Internet connection though, I’ll be there for you with a post. So breathe easy Mom and Dad.
And by the way, the second mom who emailed is my own and she should be used to her 45 year old traveling by now! Guess we never stop worrying about and wanting the best for our children. Don’t worry Mom, I’ll follow all of your instructions. Promise. Love, Kimberly