Saturday, April 28, 2012

Be more adventurous...


"I read with every broken heart we should become more adventurous..."

Rilo Kiley, More Adventurous (Let Me Be Loved)

Alice & I say goodbye before I get in the car to the airport. And before I cry a bunch.

Dear Alice,

I'm writing this from seat 29C, on a plane (an Airbus 346) somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, just East of Greenland. I am en route to Munich, and then on to Oslo to spend eight amazing days traveling through Norway on a business trip. I found out I was going on Wednesday morning, the plane left on Thursday night. This is truly an opportunity of a lifetime, one I may never get again.

I've been planning this trip for my team for six weeks or so, never expecting that I would be one of the travelers. Some of them asked if I would accompany them, and we all joked about it, but the reality is that this is not something I would get to do under normal circumstances. But circumstances are hardly ever normal.

If I were childless - and definitely if I were single - I would have thrown my hat into the ring when I began planning this trip, offering my services to guide the group from place to place. But I knew it was unlikely I would get to go, and I couldn't volunteer myself to fly so far away from you and your dad, for so many days. I think that the circumstances under which I find myself on this plane are probably the only way I could have convinced myself to do this and having such a short amount of time to pack and prepare was probably the only way I could have managed it, emotionally. It was so much easier to say I couldn't go when I didn't think that it was even an option for me to go.

I want you to know that this decision was hard for me to make. Probably harder than it should have been or needed to be. I cried about it, a lot. I'm not afraid of missing you, nor you missing me, though both break my heart a little bit. I'm afraid of voluntarily choosing to do something that keeps me from you if and when you need me - or worse, forever. I want you to know what an agonizing decision that was for me, especially when you are still so very, very young. If I don't return home safely to you, you won't even remember me. And that really breaks my heart.

But I also want you to be braver than I am, and more adventurous. I want you to know in your heart, like I do not (though everyone reminds me), that you can't live your life making decisions based on the worst case scenario. You must always judge the risks and the benefits, but I want you to choose adventure and opportunity without having to cry and agonize over it. 

This trip will be an amazing adventure and I have absolutely no reason to think that I won't return safely. But if I don't, I want you to know that you and your dad were my first priority, my only reservation about leaving. Because the more you have, the more you have to lose, and you both are my whole world. 

I'm so thankful that video phones are no longer a Jetsons/sci-fi fantasy, and the miracle of modern technology will let me see your sweet face every day that I'm gone. I hope you don't miss me too much while I'm away. I promise to bring you back something really, really nice. And if I break your heart, promise me that instead of letting it cripple you with fear, you will become more adventurous. Because you should do as much as you can with your one precious life, even if your decisions scare you sometimes. 

7 comments:

  1. Oh Erin! I remember having to go to Taiwan when Blair was barely 2. It's agonizing to be so far away! But it's also an example of adventure that I think we need to set for our kids. They need to see us walk the walk and know that there are things waiting out in the world for them :) Have a terrific trip. The time will be gone before you know it and you'll be taking another picture just like the one above in no time! That picture is GORGEOUS by the way. :)))

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  2. Erin, I am so excited for you - you are going to have an amazing time!! It will fly by and you'll be home before you know it. Have a fantastic trip!

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  3. You're already a great example for Alice! Now enjoy yourself and make sure the time away from home is worth it!

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  4. A great post, with a great message, Erin. I'm sure all will go super. Enjoy your adventures, as you'd have Alice enjoy hers. Our girl is 3½, and since she's been born I've sent members of my team on trips, but have never gone on one myself. In my old job I traveled weekly, and often as not to other countries, but changed to a job that would keep me home most of the time. As it happens my first trip away from my family in 3½ years is next month, but is only 2 nights and 280 miles. Like you, I worry about not being there for my family if they need me... so I'm glad you wrote this. It was a timely reminder of letting go of the fear and living your life. Safe travels.

    Michael

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  5. what a beautiful post! i'm sure alice is already and will be forever grateful she has such a brave, appreciative, and genuine example of a great adventurer. here's to your safe travels now and in your lives ahead. :)

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  6. Oh, enjoy, enjoy, enjoy! You are such a great mother and are setting a wonderful example for Alice of what a committed, strong and ADVENTUROUS woman is. Cheers!

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  7. Love this post Erin! I hope you had a great trip. I can't imagine how happy the reunion must have been when you got back. :)

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