As parents, our job is to groom our children to be the best adults possible once we release them into the real world. We teach them to say please and thank you, instruct them to not eat like a messy beast, and remind them to always use proper grammar. We teach them to respect everyone and remind them of proper etiquette when in public. This is part of the job. Always in the back of our head we know that as early as their 18th birthday we will have to let go and allow them to start living their lives for themselves.
However, I was not prepared when earlier this year my mother offered my daughter a trip to Paris for her 10th birthday. Of course, I agreed and my daughter was elated. I was invited, but knowing that by the time the trip came I would be heavily pregnant and would not be able to go comfortably I declined. The months went by rather quickly, and we obtained a US Passport for our daughter. I bought her new clothes that would pack easily and be not only comfortable but stylish yet weather appropriate for the November Parisian weather. We got her hard side luggage with GPS built into it, just in case it was lost and we needed to find it. She was 100% prepared.
When the day came I panicked. I knew ultimately she would be safe, but nothing is ever absolute. The plan was for them to stay with a family friend who currently works for the State Department. Her apartment is in a very safe part of town and roomy. Although I didn’t want to overthink things or put bad vibes out, I couldn’t stop thinking about the terrorist attacks that have happened in France lately. The likelihood of that happening and affecting my daughter and mother were slim to none. To be honest, anything can happen anywhere. Nonetheless, the thought horrified me to think that something could happen or she would be in a frighteningly precarious situation and I wasn’t there to help or do something. What if she didn’t come back to me?
I have tried my best to put those sorts of thoughts out of my head this week. Luckily, they fly back home late tonight and I will be able to hug my baby’s neck once more. I wasn’t much older than my daughter when I had the chance to go to Paris. It was amazing and something I will never forget. How could I let the opportunity pass my daughter by just because of my own fears? I couldn’t. The world we live in seems to become more dangerous and terrifying with each day that passes. Yet, life isn’t worth living if we become paralyzed by our fear. There are so many opportunities to fully live. If we pass them up and stay safe inside our bubble, we will never evolve or broaden our minds or horizons.
I will leave you with a favorite quote of mine that sums up my sentiment. It is also something I strive to instill in my children every single day.
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” -Mark Twain
All photos are taken by my Mom at the Paris Opera House.