Travel, Worry, and Mother’s Hearts

(a brief mommy blog moment among food blogging)

My children travel all over the world with their father. (Yes, all over. Yes, they are very fortunate to have those experiences.) They bring back new views, tales of adventure, boredom, and bathrooms. I half joke that my children would fare better if you drop them off at an airport unaccompanied than if you leave them at a suburban shopping mall.

When I tell people where my children plan to spend spring break, part of summer vacation, part of winter break, or an exotic destination they have seen, will see, want to see–I am inevitably asked “Aren’t you worried?,” “Don’t you worry?,” “Why do you let them go?”

I generally claim that where they plan to go is safe. Yes, I have checked the state dept travel site. “But…” people will say–generally followed by a low likelihood scenario. (most often involving youngest-she could get eaten by a lion, hippo, get lost, be kidnapped, etc.) I roll my eyes. Yes, it could happen and the fact that they always choose youngest says as much about her daring personality, as it does about her age and size.

The truth is: I worry. A phrase that I heard when I was a young mother is that having children means deciding to forever have your heart walk outside your body. (Elizabeth Stone) But, that level doesn’t change because of distance. Whether the children are two minutes away or two days away–bad things can happen. Good things too.

I love the United States. I would love to believe that the safest place for them in the world is home, school, the roads they walk, the places they like to spend time. I know this isn’t true though. Children get hurt and sometimes die in all of those places across the country. I can send my kids off into the world, wrapped in all the glowing strings of love a mother can surround her child with and hope that protects them. In the end though, I know that youngest getting eaten by a lion really is a low probability event when compared to statistics about the dangers truly surrounding children.

So, don’t worry when my children head off on their adventures overseas–keep them and all children in your heart when they head to the book store, to school, the library, lunch with a friend, to ride home from school–whether by foot, bus, train, or in a parent’s car. Don’t forget to wrap your love around children at home as well–we can’t and shouldn’t bubble wrap our children.

Instead, we let our hearts walk around outside our body as parents and that is dangerous in and of itself– a chance of heartbreak but such indescribable joy as well.


  1. Agreed. I worry, but squelch the worry as much as possible. My youngun is in FL currently, she drove down with friends. Driving with friends is reason enough for worry, but she has to live her life.

    I like that kids travel. Mine haven’t travelled to the extent yours have, but they have done their share and more, within country. The furthest I went as a child was 100 miles from here, and well…

  2. “…a chance of heartbreak but such indescribable joy as well. ” Well said. A-stinkin’-men. <3

  3. Yes, definitely. Thanks Jenny.

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