Who is this child?! Where did she go?! Oh right Tanzania, Africa…on a safari…at 13. Now, mind you it was with other girls for her Girl Guides trip, but still wow! I have been all over the U.S. and to Canada, but Africa? I think it is just phenomenal and I am so happy she was able to go! When we found out about the trip a few years back, we tried to prepare her the best we could, but in all reality, we had no idea what was going to take place until a recent meeting with her troop. So let me get this straight, a 21 hour flight, not to mention a whole new culture to learn from? Where do we start with this process? A whole slew of what ifs came to mind, and once again being the outside person, I had to step back and just wait it out with faith that things would go smooth. So when the day arrived, and she announced she was at Mt. Kilimanjaro, it put things into perspective of the distance at hand. I took a deep breath and let myself feel excitement and joy for her instead of fear, and that was enough for me.
This whole roller coaster ride of me not being the parent, but still kind of parenting thing is hard! It’s another individuals life that I have to try to navigate around with quiet knowledge and patience, and as much as I wanted to control the safety issues with this particular adventure, over the years I have had to come to terms with the fact that there really there is no preparation for something of this magnitude at her age.
I wish I could give her a book on all of it: love, death, and all the transitions that come with growth, but I have come to realize in the last few weeks I can’t take the experiences from her to make it easier because it won’t. I have had moments where I want to shout out, “listen, I can make this so much simpler!” but I know no matter the words I use she won’t intake them, and who am I to keep her from these experiences? So when Africa came up, I knew I was way out of my comfort zone, and this was something she would need to have and cherish, this was her adventure to bear.
Fast forward the 10 days and she is once again home safe and sound, with many stories to tell, and it’s so weird to me when I think back on all the worrying that was done that was of no use. I look at that image of this tiny child, and now all of a sudden I am face to face with a almost fully grown young lady and I have moments where I want to turn away. The whole process of her in my life has been beautiful and agonizing at the same time, because I have had to face parts of my life that I had no desire to relive or even think about, talk about uncomfortable! But I also know it is necessary, and I can only hope that the wisdom she has unknowingly delivered to me, I can return to her one day when she is feeling the pinch of discomfort of being human.