I announced to my husband in early February that we were going to send our 14 year old daughter on a spring break school trip to Columbia. His first words are something I cannot repeat. I quickly reminded him that for 25 years I have been in the camp advisory business of sending young children and teens to sleepaway programs and teen trips all over the world. It wasn’t that long ago that we sent our children at age 8 off to seven weeks of sleepaway camp. He as well as his extended family thought I was out of my mind! After many years of Maine visiting days, I can say he finally gets it! Soo now, we are talking about sending our 8th grade daughter out of the country for a homestay. I am aware of all the positive reasons for doing so… she will improve her Spanish, she will get to experience a different culture, she will step out of her comfort zone- all true gifts! So, I put the money down. I skyped the Directors of the school she would be visiting, I spoke to the teacher leaders. I asked all the questions I have guided others to ask over the years. Check. So why was I completely sick to my stomach the week before she left. Why did I not sleep at all the night before she left. It is the same reason I don’t sleep well with my kids are at camp for the first few weeks. It is hard. I know in my heart it is the very best gift in the world but it doesn’t prevent my true parental anxiety! It is day 4 of her 7 day spring break trip. I am calm and rested. The frequent texts I received via Whatsap the first two days are slowing. She is making friends. She is comfortable in her surroundings. She is happy and learning so many of life’s greatest lessons. For this I am grateful and proud. I can’t wait to hear all about her trip when she returns. I have taken my own advice and sent my daughter out into the world for an enriching exceptional experience!