A Mother's Journey
Vicarious Travel Blog, Day 1: Yesterday, my 20-year-old Thomas and his girlfriend of two years, Brie, started their 6 week trip around Europe. They left Kelowna at 4 PM and flew to Calgary. From there, they were supposed to catch a flight to Gatwick, London (UK). Of course their first flight left late, and it was a mad scramble to catch the connecting flight. Luckily, they made it ok.
A few years ago, the thought of my son catching a flight without parent would have absolutely killed me. My sister in Germany had invited him so many times to spend the summer with them, but I struggled with the thought to let a young child fly so far and all alone. In my mind, the plane would fall into the ocean, or he would be abducted, or even if he made it there, he would die in a fiery car crash somewhere on a German autobahn. I resisted all those years to let him go alone because of this insane fear of losing him.
Time “fixed” my phobia. Thomas grew older and became more and more independent. Gradually, like nature intended, he shared less and less of his thoughts and problems with me, and I became more and more confident that he would be ok without me. Thomas moved three hours north last year, to go to school there, and to live with his girlfriend. As I became less involved into his daily life I was more able to let go of my worries about him. A mom worries, all the time. When kids are young, she carries all the anxiety load. But as children grow older, and become independent, some of that worry-load is divided and therefore lightened. It’s the natural state of things. That doesn’t mean I don’t worry at all anymore. But I worry less. Because in the end, this is his life, these are his decisions, and it’s out of my hands.
So is this trip. That doesn’t mean that I’m not involved in it. Europe is my home turf. I lived there for the first 30 years of my life. This means, the trip is a bit less scary than if he had flown to, say, Indonesia. And I have an idea of what to expect. So when they had questions, I had answers. And I kinda know what is going on right now, as they are finding their way around the city of London, figuring out how to pay for their Oyster card and realizing that the distances they have to travel on foot are way bigger in real life than on the map.
I will be reporting about his trip from my perspective. Because that’s all I can do. And because it’s way for me to work out some of my anxieties and fears, about my baby traveling specifically, and about letting go in general. It’s going to be a heck of a ride.