Monday, 20 August 2012

Letting Go

We took MissM to the airport on Saturday
and while we waited for her friend
we did all the things that you do at airports:
weigh the suitcase,
check size of carry-on luggage,
double check passport, ticket, money.

Eventually her friend arrived with her mother
and we were just about to leave
when MissM's friend' mother said
"I expect you want to know about the family
that they are going to stay with."

My stomach lurched because
I had not even thought about it.

I had not even thought about
where MissM was going -
it fell into the broad category
"Somewhere in Europe
which is not Paris or Rome"

I had a terrifying flash of that
"Worst Mother in the World"
feeling which I have avoided
for a number of years
and it stayed with me for the rest of the day.

I have rationalised this now
and I accept that we have become
accustomed to MasterM and MissM
travelling beyond our reach.
We have learned to trust
their preparations and experience
and they have learned that
if there is an emergency they can contact us
and we will drop everything to sort it out.
MrM is extremely good at helping them
make sensible arrangements for money,
insurance and telephone contracts.

In the scale of parental fear
travelling to the Czech Republic
with a friend to stay with a family
is well below travelling around
South America with a backpack.

Nevertheless I am pleased to report
that on arrival MissM
"partied til late in Moravičany
with the host's grandfather and locals
for his 80th birthday party
and has been walking
in the Moravian countryside today."

So all's well.

The pictures are from nearby Olomouc.


  1. I need to take a page from your book.

  2. If a parent gives their child wings then don't be surprised if they want to fly - yours sounds the much healthier approach to life :) Hope she continues to have a wonderful time - she will be back before you have time to turn round

  3. the best guarantee we have of safe return is that MissM needs to enter a baking competition next weekend so must come home on Friday. We suddenly had a lot less butter in the fridge last week when she was in full baking mode - took me a while to work out where it had all gone to.

  4. I've yet to experience the 'boys travelling away' but 11 year old is at Scout Jamboree all week so I'm just starting to learn what it might feel like. I miss him terribly but know he's having a blast.
    A while ago I read Walking Away by C Day Lewis and try to remember this line from it "How selfhood begins with a walking away, And love is proved in the letting go." I think you completely sum up that up.

  5. Any danger encountered during travelling is NOTHING compared to entering a village show in the baking category. Heaven help the pair of you if you beat the stalwarts!

  6. Oh yes, that Worst Mother In The World feeling.... universally shared, I fear.

  7. Thank you for putting the 'catching the bus to school' thing into perspective. You are one of my mothering idols - especially if I can evade the worst mother in the world feeling for a couple of years at a time....

  8. I am the worst mother in the world. 'Do you want to talk to them?' asks my husband from a tent in Wales?', 'ermm not really' I reply.

  9. I hear that benign neglect is being advocated again in childcare expert circles - I was just ahead of my time then with my daughter! I don't think I would have thought about the family either - especially once daughter was over 18. Children know where to call if they need help, even when they're grownup.

  10. You have done all the good mothering work when they were little and that is why you are able to let them go and make their own way now.You have obviously done a brilliant job. My wanderer returns this week!

  11. I trust MasterM and MissM 100%.
    Because I met you.

  12. 1. I know the feeling. and
    2. Gorgeous pictures, as usual -- I'm making a file labeled "places MissM has been that I want to go."

  13. at least there are no man eating otters where she is!


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