Dear daughter who is going to Australia…

Hello Adventure

In a few days my 21-year-old daughter will board an airplane (by herself) and travel halfway around the world (by herself) to spend four and a half months studying abroad in Brisbane, Australia (not by herself but with people with much cooler accents … and koalas, which are my very favorite animal). And for the past few weeks I’ve somehow been transported back to exactly where I was two and a half years ago when we were days away from her leaving for college and the panic was gripping my soul with wolverine claws.

But this time I really mean it when I threaten to hide myself in her suitcase.

Over the past two and a half years I’ve gotten used to the goodbyes and even the distance. We all have. We’ve settled into a new normal, and thanks to technology and a daughter who loves to keep in touch with her family, we’ve all remained fairly unscathed by college’s disruption to our pretty perfect family life.

Of course, she’s only been 300 miles away: a five hour drive that’s gotten a lot shorter the more we’ve done it (not to mention more enjoyable since discovering the stadium cheese nachos at the Kwik Trips along the way). We’ve shared the same time zone, climate, and culture (cheese curds — you betcha!)  which has made the distance seem manageable.

But this.
This is a lot more than 300 miles.

mpls to brisbane

This is 8,655 miles.
Eight time zones.
Totally opposite seasons.
A 60° temperature change (currently).
A 20 hour flight and a 16 hour time difference.

robin

And much like when she left for college in the fall of 2014, I have thoughts, feelings, and advice I need to share with her in a few (or 12) letters before she leaves.

Dear daughter,

I hate you.

Love,
Mama


Dear daughter,

Okay, you know I don’t hate you, but I hate that when you told me you were going to study abroad one day ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD you really meant it.

Love,
Mama


Dear daughter,

Fine, you know that’s just my stupid mom heart talking, the same heart that’s currently in an all-out battle of excitement, pride, love, agony, fear, and TBH, more than a little envy.

It’s okay. I’ve gotten used to dealing with those feelings over the years as you’ve grown up and tackled many new adventures … much the same way the man at the liquor store has gotten used to seeing me pop in for a replenishment of Chardonnay every Friday since 1999.

Love,
Mama


Dear daughter,

You know the pride, joy, and love part outweighs everything else though, right? You know how unbelievably excited I am for you to have this grand adventure and take this amazing, life-defining journey, don’t you?

Over the past two years you’ve been at college you’ve grown into yourself so much and proven that you are not only independent but wise, and one of the things that has been so amazing has been watching you take charge of your life and your dreams.

You know where you want to go, and I’m not just talking about Australia.

Sure, you have questions about the path you might take to get there, but what I love seeing is how you are boldly taking steps — despite those questions.

They say life is all about the journey, not about the destination, and I see you living that in so many ways: your hard work, your respect for your studies, your respect for yourself, your perseverance, and with this trip, even with your fear of the unknown.

I couldn’t be prouder of you.

Love,
Mama


Dear daughter,

Actually, that’s a lie. I’d be prouder of you if you could somehow manage to smuggle a baby koala back for me.

Love,
Mama


Dear daughter,

But really. Speaking of pride — and koalas — I’m so impressed with how you’re already taking advantage of your experience by lining up the volunteer position at the koala sanctuary; how you’re planning to join a club for international students that will take you on trips around Australia; how you made sure to get SCUBA certified last summer so you could dive in one of the most amazing places on the planet; and — perhaps the thing I’m most impressed with — how you have already located the nearest Target.

Sure, you may still need me to reassure you that it’s okay to take 800 mg of Advil when you have killer cramps or to tell you it’s fine to wash your shirts with your sheets, but at age 21 you are already worlds more adventurous than I ever was — or probably ever will be.

Love,
Mama


Dear daughter,

Pride aside, there’s a few things I want to mention about being adventurous.
What, you’re surprised?

  1. No matter how beautiful Brisbane is and how friendly those smooth-talkin’ Aussies are, keep your wits about you and be as smart about safety as you are on your own campus. Never walk alone alone after dark; never take a drink from someone you don’t know; never leave a friend alone; and always trust your instincts.
  2. Remember the wise words of Ted Mosby: “Nothing good happens after 2 a.m.”
  3. If you decide to skydive, bungee jump, or dive to depths deeper than 20′, don’t tell me until after you’re home safely.
  4. Stay away from the dingoes.

Love,
Mama


Dear daughter,

I know I’ve given you a hard time recently about me being jealous of you being surrounded by crystal blue water, white sand, my spirit animals, people with accents, and warmth while I’m spending my days moving piles of crap from the bottom stair to the third stair, eating popcorn for lunch, making daily Target runs for excitement, and layering, but I hope you know that, while my envy is real, it makes me so happy that you get to experience all the things I’ll only be dreaming of.

It’s what being a mom is all about.

Love,
Mama


Dear daughter,

Don’t worry. I’ll even the score really soon when you and your sister are both completely grown and out of the house and I can travel the world with your father at my leisure while you two are eating cereal for dinner in order to pay rent.

Love,
Mama


Dear daughter,

Oh wait. I’ll probably still be paying for this four month stint in Australia.

Love,
Mama


Dear daughter,

You’re worth it.

Love,
Mama


Dear daughter,

But when I think of the koalas, I still kind of hate you.

Love,
Mama

 



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For the letters I wrote her when she left for college, click HERE

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  • Snarkfest - Oh Lord. 4 months in Australia??? I’m buying stock in Chardonnay. Good luck with this! Much love to you.ReplyCancel

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