This week, I delivered my third son to the airport for the biggest adventure of his life thus far. He's embarking on a six-month co-op position in Peru, in a town not far from Machu Pichu. His excitement over this journey was something wonderful to see, even if I was watching through those damned Mama tears.
All my children are eager travelers, ready and willing to explore new lands, see new sights and hear new sounds. My boys, especially, are undaunted by the differences and challenges they might encounter. I think a lot of this might be due to the fact that when we adopted our first daughter from China, we took all three boys with us. In China, EVERYTHING was different, from the food to the facilities. (Ahem.) My suspicion is that at some level, the boys know that no place they could visit will ever challenge them that same way. (Or treat them as rock stars, which is what happened to our very very blonde third son.)
I try to blame - er, attribute this to my husband's influence. (There's a reason his nickname is Travel Agent Ken.) But the fact is that back in the day, Mom had a bit of an adventurous streak herself. I give you Exhibit A:
It was an amazing, life-changing experience. And while I couldn't understand it at the time, now, of course, I can comprehend what a huge step it was for my parents to let me take part in this exchange. My parents lived in the same small Southern Ontario town where they had been born. Other than one aunt, who moved to California, all of their relatives lived within a twenty-mile radius. Our idea of a huge adventure was to drive two hours north to stay at a cottage for a week.
And yet they let me go to Guyana. Before cell phones, smart or not. Before Skype. Before home computers and Facebook and the flight trackers that let me follow my son's progress in real time.
Oh, and did I mention that a month after we arrived in Guyana, this small South American country was abruptly catapulted to the attention of the whole world thanks to this little incident known as the Jonestown Massacre?
My poor, poor parents.
I survived, obviously, though I don't know if my parents ever forgave me for putting them through that. The odds are that my son will also have an amazing, life-changing experience in Peru. (Preferably without any massacres, thank you very much.) I guess I will have to take some of the blame - er, the credit - for him being so ready and willing to head out on this adventure.
Which reminds me ... I never talked to him about the cockroaches ....
I know what you're thinking: which one of that motley crew is me? Take your best guess. If you guess correctly, you could win a $10 gift card to the online book store of your choice. (If there's more than one correct guess, the winner will be determined by a random drawing of all those who got it right.) Prize to be awarded January 21. Good luck!