Last year, when my daughter told me she wanted to study in Germany for a month in the summer of 2011, I wanted to say, “Germany?!!! No, I can’t even drive there if you need me! Germany?!!!” But then I remembered I wanted her to see the world, study abroad, and experience places and people firsthand that I had only read about. But then I kept getting haunted by the fact that I could not protect her in Germany. Germany! Not to mention that it was not a cultural melting pot like America and right away the natives would know that she was a tourist. And once she spoke German with her cute American accent, how would they treat her? Would someone try to take advantage of her? Kidnap her?!
Boy, my mind was going off in so many different directions, it was ridiculous. That’s when I decided to pray about it–you know after I drove myself crazy thinking about all the worse possible scenarios. Well, God put my mind at peace. At some point a mother has to realize that she cannot go everywhere with her children. They may not always live in your house, your town, your state, or even your country. With that in mind, I came to the realization that it was best to let her go without a fuss. What argument did I have anyway? She is living in God’s perfect will for her life, and He is with her everywhere she travels.
She had gotten to Munich safely. She wasn’t alone. She was with 40+ other students from Princeton. She was learning and site seeing. We communicated through Skype every evening, so I got to hear her and see her face, so I got pretty comfortable with the idea, until… I read the headlines: “World’s Largest E-coli Outbreak Kills 14 in Germany.” I continued to read, ” more than 300 seriously ill in Germany and it has spread to other north European countries and is expected to worsen in the coming week.” Worsen in the coming week, I thought. My child has to be there for 4 more weeks! Maybe I should make her come home. I consulted with my husband. He was pretty relaxed about it, so it helped me relax. He said, “Just tell her not to eat the cucumbers.” Well, that seemed easy enough, but then the next report said that no one was really sure what foods, especially vegetables, were causing the outbreak. So… one would figure, well, just tell your daughter not to eat the vegetables. Well, that would have been just fine, but my daughter is a vegan, and I knew there was no way I could convince her to become a meat eater for the month she was there. So… I verbalized my solution to her while we were on Skype, “Eat chips and water, that’s it.”
“Mom, that is not enough nutrients. I’ll pass out.”
“I don’ care. I need you to stay alive. Passing out is nothing compared to what the people are going through who have gotten sick over there.”
My poor child lived primarily off of pretzels. I don’t know why she didn’t go for the bag of chips. Apparently, Germany has irresistible pretzels. Well, even though I continued to worry, my daughter came home safely–a little thinner and very hungry, but she was okay.
She is now in her sophomore year of college, but she is home for winter break-right down the hall in her bedroom, and I am just a holler away, so I am one happy mom. However, a few days ago, she comes to me and says, “Mom, what do you think about me studying at Cambridge for a couple months?”
“Cambridge? You mean like in England?!!!!!”
Well, folks, what can I say? I have a long way to go before I am completely used to her not always being right down the hall.
By the way, here is a photo of my daughter in Germany. This is what she was doing while I was home worrying:
*My daughter has visited several countries since I have written this post and is now a senior! It is now the fall of 2013. I find it difficult to believe she is 21. I don’t worry about her as much as she worries about me now. Our roles have reversed in a way. Our children are young and resilient. We are getting older. It is time to take care of ourselves, so our grown children can live their lives fully without worrying about us.
Quotes about worrying:
Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.- Corrie Ten Boom
Philippians 4:6-7 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
No one can pray and worry at the same time.- Max Lucado