I knew it would happen. My son was so curious about culture and it was only a matter of time before my Collin would ask me to travel to Spain. He had completed his second year of Spanish and he dreamed of Madrid; he dreamed of the treasures, the castles, the countryside and the people. It did happen and it was all too soon, so I thought. You see, my son was only 15 years old. How could I allow him to travel thousands of miles, over a huge ocean, tackle multiple airports in order to get to his dream? I am a good mom and my answer should have been no but it wasn’t.
That day he asked if he could go, I could see wonder in his eyes, passion and hope. He had it all planned out. He had received a scholarship so all airfare was taken care of, his lodging and fun—paid in full. How could I say no? I didn’t. My heart melted and I said yes. I was not going to stand between my son and the adventure of a lifetime.
We didn’t have much time to prepare, so I had to act quickly. I wanted him to travel with caution without making him fearful. I had to teach him how to navigate an airport and what to do on a layover. I had to help him brush up on European Spanish culture. There were so many things I had to do and it seemed like there was little time to do it.
That day came, too soon in my opinion. We had everything meticulously planned. His bags were packed, his passport was good to go, plane ticket was confirmed and his local representative was in contact with me and ready for his arrival. My heart sank as we traveled to the airport, a million apprehensions ran through my mind. I knew I had to put this in God’s hands and let go. We arrived at the airport. The airline staff was so friendly, they even printed me a gate pass so that I could accompany him to the plane. This is something done for youth under the age of 18. They asked if he had any questions, told him to keep his passport close and went over his flight itinerary. Wow! This just might work. They knew I was scared, they could see it, so they did tell me not to worry that they would take excellent care of him.
We made it through security and to the departing gate. Collin and I went over our last minute check list. Before I knew it, a kind lady was calling for certain passengers to board Delta flight 43. That tiny lump in my throat grew ten times in a matter of seconds. Collin turned to me and told me not to worry, he promised to call me when he landed in Newark and then again when he made it to Madrid. He placed his arms around me with the sweetest hug a teenage boy could give his mom. I felt his warm tears melt through my shirt and I cried, too. He turned to walk away and it was at that point that I realized, my boy was beginning to be a young man.
He made it to Newark and then on to Spain. He met his coordinator at the airport; his name was Emerito. Emerito was a friendly man who accepted Collin as his own from the second he came off the plane. He gave my son his personal cell phone and had him call me to let me know he was safe and sound. Collin said it was already so beautiful and that he was headed to his destination in El Escorial. We had already decided prior to the trip that Collin would only call me upon arrival, once midway through and then upon departure. Emerito and his wife were kind enough to call me other times (or send me emails) to let me know that Collin was a hit at the camp and he was having so much fun.
Three weeks flew by so fast. It was time for my baby (well, young man) to come home. Just as planned, I was called right before departure and before long, I was greeting him at the gate in Denver, Colorado. Collin could not stop talking. He wanted to tell me everything right then and there. He could not stop talking all the way home. I knew that very second that I made the right decision to agree to this adventure. The memories of this will be etched in his heart forever.