So, what has this trip taught me?
Some of what I worried about did happen
. We got sick, from food, from germs (Nadeige has a cold), from eating too much Pekiing Duck at supper (but it was soooo good), and Torin’s eyes turned red and puffed up – sometimes one, sometimes the other, sometimes both at once. Most recently, Torin has developed a case of swimmer’s ear. Torin’s ear pain had JF and me up at midnight last night trying to call Saskatoon (for a doctor consult) and looking at the internet for the most likely cause of said pain. Of course, calling from Vietnam to Saskatoon seems to exist in the realm of the impossible – the best we could get was ringing at the number we were calling and then silence when the phone on the other end was picked up. Cell phone was no better – the network was overloaded . . . or something . . . I realize that more rational parents would tell their child to go to sleep, take some Tylenol (perhaps both the parents and the child), and deal with it in the morning. But in my defence, I would suggest that the act of having children is anything but rational in the first place. Apparently, John F Kennedy said, "To have a child is to give fate a hostage." That just about sums it up. But there’s something more to it as well . When your child is born, you know in that instant that god (whatever he, she, it is) exists. And that this is both glorious and rending, that there is no turning back, that the way has become even more fraught with danger than before, and despite all of this, you would choose this again and again – given the chance
But I digress . . .
This morning after a relatively sleepless night for me. A nice Vietnamese doctor came to our hotel room, confirmed that it was, in fact, Swimmer’s Ear and left us medication to treat it – all for $40. A deal if you ask me. Unfortunately, this means that Torin cannot stick his head underwater. So, today is a hotel day, it seems. Movies have been rented, books have been read. Blogs will be written.
However, the occasional worry aside, this trip has been empowering. We can do this. It will be okay, and in the moments when it’s not okay, we’ll still be okay. And I remain convinced that had I listened too well to the insistent refrain of worry that punctuated our preparations, I would be a lesser person, I would circumscribe the possibilities for my children’s experience of the world by my fear of it. And, that just won’t do.
I had many fears before we left on this adventure. Fears that one or all of us would get sick, fears of eating bad food, fears of rabid monkeys, child abductions, traffic accidents, fears of crossing the street in Hanoi (this one, not entirely unfounded), fears of being too fearful . . . In short, there were many things I was afraid of. (Those of you who know me will be surprised to discover that beneath my tough exterior is the soul of one who is capable of turning a simple eye infection into a life-threatening crisis in a few short steps.) And although I preach the gospel of conquering fear to my children, and I like to believe that I do not, for the most part, allow fear to dictate my actions (except for my fear of skiing down double black diamond runs – I'm totally fine with that particular fear), I am, it seems, innately fearful by nature.