For the past 9 months, our 17-year-old son Alex has been preparing to volunteer in Nicaragua this summer through a program called Amigos de las Americas. The organization has paired teens with community-based initiatives in Central America for well over 40 years. Alex has attended monthly meetings since last October and the entire family has volunteered for fundraising, which included selling and delivering(!) 190 20-lb boxes of oranges and grapefruit.
Alex was scheduled to leave today. Or so we thought. Around noon yesterday I got a phone call from the other Denver-based volunteer assigned to Nicaragua. She was at the airport wondering where to meet us. This is the stuff of nightmares—Alex had misread his ticket and we were all a day off. Fortunately, Alex was at home, but still in bed. I woke him up and after a panic-filled 15 minutes, he was packed and we were on our way to the airport. Miraculously, we made it in time. I figure that the universe must really want him to be in Nicaragua this summer or one of many variables would have misaligned and he would have missed the flight.
I had planned to take a photo of him as he walked down the causeway to the plane, but, well, I forgot my camera in the hustle. So, with very little fanfare, my first-born has taken off to the wilds of a third-world country to teach English and (we think) help train villagers in water purification. When he returns in mid-August, he’ll be 18 years old and a legal adult. Is it trite to wonder where the time has gone?
I was a wreck by the time I got home from the airport. First, I treated myself to a big piece of carrot cake leftover from Father’s Day dinner.
Then, I calmed myself by spinning on my new Maggie spindle.
I’m still a wreck 24 hours later; I probably won’t recover until he returns in August.
11 thoughts on “Dumb Luck”
That sounds AWFUL and so stressful! I need to go close my eyes for a bit after reading this.
I think it is always harder to be the one left behind rather than the one leaving. Best wishes for all of you. Think of all the stories he will come back with.
My 18 year old son just left a couple of weeks ago for Sweden. He’ll be gone for 3 months. I know how you feel. It will get easier.
Oh good lord! I’m amazed that you all actually made it!
I went cold just reading this – what a shock! But at least you managed to get him off in time. You’ll be finding things he’s forgotten for weeks to come….
I’d have probably chased that carrot cake with a shot of something, and I don’t mean espresso. Can’t imagine how stressful that morning was. Glad it all worked out.
My “baby” will turn 18 in January. No, it’s not trite to wonder where the time went. I do the same thing.
My oldest baby just graduated from high school. I understand wondering where the heck time has gone. Word of advice, make no plans for the two weeks heading into graduation, you will be swamped with stuff to do, without any additional plans.
I swear teenagers provide more aerobic exercise than the gym!
Of course it would all work out – how could it not for such a wonderful adventure. You must be so proud!
My baby Alex is just 12, but I already feel the wheels spinning faster and faster. Best not to blink, I guess.
Best to all of you, and keep the adult beverages within reach (it helps calm the nerves).
Congratulations on having such a wonderful, caring teenage son. He is exactly what the world needs more of. What a wonderful learning experience and soul fulfilling adventure he will have. I’m sure you’re very proud, and you should be! My best wishes to you both.
Hey I found your blog after googling Alex since I just found out he is one of my daughter’s partners in Nicaragua!
What an amazing start to his trip!