Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sending Your Kid on a Mission Trip

We have been getting a lot of flack ever since we started answering the question: "So where is your daughter".

"Haiti", we've been answering this week.


"Without you?"  They ask.

"Yes,"  we answer.


"Oh."  Followed by a long pause, then, "are you crazy?"

About her being in a third world country with high temperatures, higher humidity, lack of running water, malaria, cholera, goat meat and incredible government corruption?


They shake their heads, "Well I wouldn't let my kid go there."

So don't. I could be flippant and say "Keep your kid in a bubble.  They can see the world through the news because we all know how accurate that is."  Okay, yeah,Ireallydidsaythatacoupletimes.

Really, though, that would be hypocritical of me because I didn't go with my fifteen year old daughter to Haiti.  I am in the four walled insulated house with a light over my head, power cord hooked to the laptop, sipping my coffee and watching the outdoor temperature inch up from 42 degrees under partly cloudy skies.  In about five minutes I will navigate my sheepskined slippers to the fridge for a roll of Crescent Cinnamon Rolls and pop those in my convection oven.  After that I might mosey on into the bathroom where I will flush the toilet without even thinking.

So why send her?

Because she wanted to go.

All the stars aligned:

  • Two of her classmates/friends were also going
  • Their mothers were going
  • I can afford to send her
  • I trust the organization she's going with: Hope in Haiti
  • It is timed during Spring Break
  • She is covered in prayer

Who am I to tell her "no"?  Well, I do a lot, but on this?

She's traveled since she was nine months old.  She has been to a tiny remote island in the South Pacific so she knows what the tropics, the heat and humidity and tiny island life, is all about.  She has been to week long overnight camps since she was seven (she was one month shy of the age 8 cut off date, but they let her in anyways).  Last year, between grades eight and nine, she was home a total of three weeks during summer break because she was in Washington DC and New York (without us), band camp at a university across the state (without us), the interior part of Washington State (without us) with relatives and several little romps in between.  She barely waves goodbye to us, let alone hugs us goodbye!

She comes home tonight.  Tomorrow I will hear all about her trials and tribulations.  I will hear about the heat and the goat meat and the little girl she wants to bring home for us to adopt.  I don't know what else I will hear about because, honestly, I only know those little pieces.

And that's okay.  For now.

I am sure in the next week she will hit me up about going to Tennessee with some relatives to visit some relatives.  If it times out right, I will say yes.

Because, someday, she will move out of my house and on her own.  I'd rather it not be a big surprise (for either one of us) come that day.

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