Letting her go was the hardest decision I’ve had to make as a mother. When I heard about the first attacks, they were 250 miles south. "That's pretty far away, different ocean conditions," I heard. "While horrifying and scary, not an imminent threat." As the sharks seemed to be making their way up the coast, though, I started to feel extremely scared. This is not normal. What the hell is going on? I was relentlessly scouring the internet for the latest reports and insight. Two weeks before she was set to leave, an attack on the beach in Rodanthe (where camp is) sent me into full panic. “That’s it. She is NOT going.”
My husband agreed. “The risk is too high. It’s too dangerous.”
I called the camp director to tell him I was scared to death. He said they were also pretty freaked out, and planning to take tons of extra precautions in the coming weeks. Surfing where the water is clear and cold. Staying away from piers. Not getting in the water if they notice birds feeding (this means bait fish and a greater likelihood of sharks). I felt better. He knows the ocean better than anyone I’ve ever met and if anyone can keep her safe in the water, he can.
Still. I was scared. No one can predict or prevent a shark attack. NO ONE.
Just as no one can predict a plane or car crash, or a freak accident, or a tornado.
As I was processing all of it in an attempt to make the best choice for Samantha, my inner voice spoke loudly. “All is well. Trust that she will be fine. Let her go.”
Seriously???? Do I really believe that???? Turns out, I do.
Being terrified of the possibilities does nothing to reduce the risk. We can choose never to fly, never drive, and live in a bunker, but then there will inevitably something else we have not “pre” planned for that throws us a curve. Life is funny that way.
The point is, we don’t really have control. Bad things happen despite our best plans, and beautiful things happen when we least expect them. We can live terrified and paralyzed by fear over what might happen, or we can live trusting that all is well and embrace the opportunities to grow through amazing experiences.
Does this mean ignoring obvious risks and making irresponsible choices? Of course not. But I’m not going to sit back and withhold all the good stuff because there is some risk involved. Walking out the door each day is risky. We do it anyway.
I am doing my best to live trusting that all is well. I sent my child to surf camp believing that she would be fine. Trusting that she would not be harmed. Knowing that she was going to have the time of her life. Which she did.
AND…admittedly, I have never been so happy to have her back, safe and sound.