Change is hard. It’s harder when you’re little. I have to say, I’m so impressed with the way our girls have been handling this massive shift in their lives. We’ve been talking about this for 6 months, so their initial resistance has gradually turned into excitement. They give their ideas on where we should go and what types of service projects they want to do. They ask questions about how homeschooling will work. They seem to be adjusting to this concept better than I had imagined they would.
Yet, as things are really starting to happen – i.e. selling the house, packing boxes, getting rid of furniture – we’ve seen their fears come out now and then. The ways they express those fears are as different as they are. I’ve had a couple long, tear-filled conversations with Emily, our ten-year-old. She’s the one that needs to verbally hash things out. Alison, our youngest, has been somewhat oblivious up to this point, but I think we’ll see her reaction come out a few weeks after we leave. Last summer when we went to Colorado for two months she had a full blown temper tantrum two weeks into our stay. Liv, our seven-year-old, doesn’t really like to show or talk about her emotions on anything, but they still come out in her own little ways. Like when she collected the “SOLD” signs we had put on different pieces of furniture and scrawled out her true feelings on the topic of our furniture sale.
As a parent you constantly worry that you will inadvertently scar your child’s fragile psyche. Selling almost everything we own and leaving for an open-ended international trip is hard for even Brian and I to wrap our heads around at times. I wish I knew what was really going on in their little brains right now, because we know this change isn’t easy. Yet, we also believe the lifelong impact this travel and service experience will have on them will outweigh those difficulties.
Or perhaps in 30 years they’ll be telling their therapists how their crazy parents ruined their lives by making them travel around the world. We’ll see.