My dearest mother used to lie awake when I would travel, doing what mothers do well: worrying.
I remember my solo first trip to Washington, DC. Just DC. It was a mileage run and I flew on a Friday evening and returned home the next day. I was 18, so hardly a child.
“Now you be sure to call me when you land.”
“But I land at 7am ET. That will be the middle of the night.”
“That’s okay, then I’ll finally be able to sleep.”
This sort of thing went on for a few years. I remember the look of concern that spread over her face the first time I went to Europe alone, the first time I went to Asia alone, and the first time I even went to Canada alone.
“Is that a safe plane?” she would always ask.
Invariably, I would respond, “This one has only had a few crashes lately.”
Just after my 21st birthday I took my first RTW trip. When I told her the itinerary she nearly had a heart attack.
“You’re going to Russia to fly on old Soviet airplanes?!”
She always likes to know exactly where I am going to be, taking out a pad of paper and a pen to write down every stop. Enabling “share my location” on my iPhone has replaced that need, but this goes back to the days in which text messages had to be typed on a Nokia phone using only a numeric keypad at a rate of 30 cents per message.
But something happened over the years.
I’m not sure whether it is merely indifference after having traveled to 125 countries, newfound trust, or a built up immune system, but my travels today–just as adventurous as before, if not more so–are often met with rolling eyes or a subtle scolding that I am leaving my wife and son.
She doesn’t want to pick me up from the airport any longer, either.
“Are you using Uber to get home?” (i.e. I’m not picking you up!)
So I’ve earned her trust. I’ve also chosen not to to reveal certain destinations until I return. Best if mom doesn’t know I am going to Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran or Saudi Arabia until I am back in California…
I did tell my father before I went to Afghanistan and he sent me this one-line e-mail:
For your mother’s sake, please don’t take this trip.
But I went anyway and told her about it when I got home (him too). That’s probably a wise strategy for you young folks out there who are breaking way from the nest for the first time and have a mother that loves you and worries about you.
My mother has been sacrificial in so many ways over the years and I love her so much. Today in a particular, I appreciate how she has showed her love for me by worrying about me. It’s nice to know that someone is thinking about you.
Happy Mother’s Day to my precious mother, who has showed me what it means to be cheerful and gracious. Thanks for caring about me and I’ll appreciate your prayers when I travel to Syria! 😉