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Dear Girls: On Stepping Out Into the World

Dear Girls,

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.





  1. Claire,

    Have a wonderful trip with your adorable family. Your book touched me in so many ways and I continue to check your blog. You have such a way with words. I’m pleased that Grandma is going on your adventure with you. I can relate as I leave tomorrow for CA to help my daughter and family move to a new house. In other words, I get to spend more time with my granddaughters, ages 4 and 2 (and help pack and unpack).

    Safe travels.


    Sandy G.

    Comment by Sandy on August 27, 2012 at 9:00 am

  2. SO exciting! :) ))

    Comment by francesca on August 27, 2012 at 9:11 am

  3. you go girl, guy, girls! travel’in mercies!

    Comment by Esther Bradley-DeTally on August 27, 2012 at 11:43 am

  4. Love, love, love this! So excited for you as you head off to Australia with your little family!

    Comment by Wendy on August 27, 2012 at 9:21 pm

  5. What beautiful girls! Wishing you all the best for the long flight. I look forward to meeting you on Friday morning, and I’m sure your whole family can hang out in the Green Room and/or come to the session. We’re very friendly ‘down under’. :)

    Comment by Angela Meyer (Ms LiteraryMinded) on August 27, 2012 at 9:45 pm

  6. Great picture. Great post. Teary eyed.

    Comment by Evelyn on August 28, 2012 at 4:47 pm

  7. You are right that you girls will absorb experiences like a sponge, and thrive on the changes. You have to deal with exhausted children along the way, but I think you know that kids should be exhausted with stimulus and experiences. My most tender moments as a parent was putting to bed a daughter satiated with a day of exploration. Collapsed in my arms and totally trusting.

    Comment by Paul Tredgett on August 29, 2012 at 8:54 am

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