We’re leaving tonight for Australia. There’s a good chance that twenty years from now you’ll be sitting in the office of a therapist complaining about how your crazy mother dragged you around the world and on weird adventures. Your therapist will clasp her hands and nod gently and probe a little deeper. You’ll say, “Oh, like the time she took us to Australia when I was three and Jules was an infant.” Your therapist will raise her eyebrows and you’ll feel some swelling sense of acknowledgement.
But my real hope is that instead of sitting in a therapist’s office at age 23 you’ll be off living your life somewhere incredible. Or just that you’ll be living your life and it will be incredible. My point is that by taking you on this trip, which neither of you will probably remember, but that will nonetheless ingrain itself into your being somehow, you’ll learn a little something about life. About the largeness of it, about how easy it is to get caught up in our immediate surroundings and how important it is to step out of our lives in big and little ways as often as we can.
Surely there will be times along our trip that will be tough. Vera, you are bound to have a hundred thousand tantrums from here to Brisbane and back. Jules you are sure to give your dad and Grandma an impossibly hard time while I’m off doing readings and teaching seminars. We will all get lost, probably miss at least one flight, eat something weird, get mad about something, get sad about something, forget something important, and feel a little homesick at one time or another. But all of that is the beauty of travel.
All of us — both of you girls, your father, your grandmother, and me — will come home forever changed. Because for as many of those harrowing moments listed above there will be two dozen amazing moments in which we try something new, meet someone fantastic, see something we’ve never seen before, learn something about ourselves and realize over and over again how fun it is to step out of our lives and into the world.
I can’t wait to share in all of those moments with both of you, my two beautiful girls. I want to spend years and years holding your little hands as we venture out into the world together. All the way until the day when I let go and watch the two of you head out on your own adventures. Just don’t forget to send a postcard home to your crazy mom when you do.