I found this map of Australia on Frogdancer's blog and I'm beginning to think that letting daughter go to Australia with Scientist Genius Brother for Christmas isn't such a great idea after all. They'll be visiting Scientist Genius Brother's super awesome girlfriend and her family at their home which is located between convicts and giant spiders according to this map.
Yup, you read that right. On December 12, 2009 I will be putting my 15 year old on a plane to San Francisco where Scientist Genius Brother will collect her from the airport, take her home for a night and then they will trek back to the airport the next day to fly to Melbourne, Australia. She will get back to Seattle on January 5th. My baby will not be home for Christmas! She'll miss playing "Santa" with me and Christmas Eve with her cousins. I won't get to see her eyes light up as she opens up all her loot on Christmas morning and her brothers won't get to give her one of the only two hugs they are allowed to give her every year. (She only lets them hug her on Christmas and her birthday, that's it!)
On the other hand, she will get to spend three and a half weeks with her Uncle who is one of my favorite people in the world. They will get to start building their own relationship without me as a go-between. Scientist Genius Brother is a very special guy and by getting to spend that time with him, daughter will learn and grow and be a better person. She will see an example of the kind of man I want her to look for when she is ready for love and a relationship. And he will get to know daughter better and see what a smart, funny and witty niece he has.
I also strongly believe that kids need to travel and meet people from other countries to broaden their perspective. Contrary to what many Americans seem to believe, the United States is not the only country on the planet and seeing things from other perspectives will help my kids grow up to be empathetic and well-rounded adults. Insularity drives me crazy and I am going to do everything possible to make sure my kids don't fall into that trap so many Americans do.
Daughter is thrilled and excited for this adventure in her life and I am thrilled and excited for her. I can't thank Wonderful Aussie Girlfriend and her family enough for opening their home and hearts to daughter and I know that Scientist Genius Brother loves her as much as husband and I do and will take very good care of our precious baby.
But we will miss her so much. Letting the kids grow up might end up being the hardest thing we've ever done.