I Think I Can...I Think I Can...I Think I Can...E
By Patricia Chadwick
Remember the story about the little train that took the risk and tried to make it up that HUGE hill? It was daunting, but it kept telling itself, "I think I can...I think I can...I think I can..." - and it found out that it could! We had a similar experience, but this time it involved my daughter, Jeni, riding IN a train!
According to my 16-year-old daughter, life is an adventure. This past weekend we moved into new territory and she had herself a grand old time being an independent woman.
My daughter has always loved going to Delta Lake, her favorite Christian camp (www.deltalake.com - incase you are interested!). Since the 4th grade it has been the highlight of her summer. This year she was old enough to apply for a job there - and she got the position.
She will be attending her own camp plus working two weeks as a counselor. She also had to attend 4 day orientation over the Memorial Day weekend.
"How nice for her," you may be saying. But did I mention that this camp was about three hours from our home? You can do the math - 12 hours of driving over Memorial Day weekend, plus another 36 hours of driving during the summer. While my young lady was thrilled about the plans for her summer - Mom wasn't quite as ecstatic. The thought of driving for 12 hours for four weeks of my summer was not very appealing, yet I did want her to have this experience.
So what's a mamma to do? I started thinking - "How can I get her there WITHOUT me driving her?" I checked bus schedules...no luck. I asked around to see if anyone else was going to swap rides with...no luck. Then I thought of the train. Sure enough - there was a train station about an hour from here that went right to Rome, NY (where Delta Lake is located). The price was reasonable and the camp director said they'd be glad to pick her up.
I thought it was a great idea, but I was a bit worried. Sweetie has never traveled alone before. Was she ready? I asked her about how she'd feel about taking the train and she thought it would be a splendid adventure. So we went on the Internet, bought the tickets, and waited for the Memorial Day weekend.
As the time for her departure neared, darling daughter got a little nervous. She'd be ALL alone on the train for three hours. What if the people on the train were "creepy"? What if the camp forgot to pick her up? Valid questions. I tried to prepare her the best I could. I gave her my cell phone so she could call me if she wanted...or the camp...or 911! I sent her with extra money incase she missed her train and had to buy a new ticket or needed to take a cab. We tried to think of everything.
The day finally came. Jeni was excited, but a bit overwhelmed by her sudden independence. As we sat waiting for the train to arrive she made an amazing statement to me. Now you need to know that this is the same girl who has reminded me since the day of her sixteenth birthday of how she is now ALMOST seventeen! She said to me, "Mom, I can't believe you are letting me do this. I'm ONLY 16 you know!" I had to laugh. I hugged her and told her I knew she'd be fine. I'd never let her go if I didn't think she could handle it. That seemed to give her some confidence. If I thought she could handle it, well, she COULD handle it.
The train pulled into the station and she boarded. I was hoping she'd get a window seat so I could wave good-bye. My eyes scanned the windows looking for her, but they were tinted and I couldn't see in too well. Right as the trained pulled away I spotted her. There was my oh, so grown-up daughter waving frantically and blowing her mamma a kiss. Priceless.
Just in case you are wondering, the trip was a success. The camp picked her up and dropped her off on time and I was there waiting for her when the train pulled into the station. My daughter got on that first train a nervous teenager, but she walked off that homebound train a confident young woman.
I love this stage of parenting. Yes, it can be scary, but in order to grow
you sometimes have to step outside your comfort zone. And we need to teach our kids that too. You know, I think my daughter is right, life IS an adventure. I'm so glad to be a part of hers.
Patti Chadwick is the creator of Parents & Teens found at www.parentsandteens.com. She is also the author of
MISSION POSSIBLE: RAISING GREAT TEENS! and LOOK UP! A 30-Day Devotional Journal for Teens. Both books are available on her website in both ebook and print formats. To purchase visit:
may be re-published as long as the following resource box is included: