This blog is a parking lot. I am parking everything here that I am worried about, and I am worried about a lot, as I prepare to travel to Israel with my twelve-year-old granddaughter, Tillie. All the little things that would ordinarily have me nervous when I travel are exacerbated by the fact that my daughter wants me to swallow my fears and project an image of female strength and courage to Tillie. As I prepare to move into Helen Reddy mode – I am woman, hear me roar! – I will try to give away my fear as I write about it here.
But first, let me explain the background of our amazing trip. A year ago, Tillie and I were invited to participate in a year-long, global, intergenerational program for grandparents and their preteen grandchildren (https://www.g2family.org). We agreed to meet monthly with our cohort, three other grandparent-and-grandchild couples. Tillie and I also agreed to spend time together each month to do a fun homework assignment. The goal in all this was to build a bond between the two generations. Knowing that kids can’t always turn to their parents when they have a problem, I was very eager for Tillie to have a strong connection to me. Hence, I was sold on the concept immediately! That the program culminates in a trip to Israel is a wonderful bonus.
We leave for our trip in four days and here’s what I am worrying about (but don’t tell Tillie):
- Foreign currency – I am packing shekels and dollars but what if I need more cash? On a trip to Europe four years ago the ATM machine didn’t accept my card even though my bank was aware of my travel!
- Cell phone service – I have spoken to Verizon just like I did the last time I traveled out of the country but that still didn’t make the transition automatic or easy! I have printed out a sheet of instructions this time, but will that work?
- Electrical adaptors – I ordered Type D like our tour guide mentioned, but they don’t look exactly like the picture our leader provided!
- Going through customs in Israel – I am a perennial good girl, but on my previous trip to Israel I got bumped out of line for a more thorough screening (why, oh why?) that felt ominous, separated me from my group, and took forever!
- Of course, there are a bunch of little things that worry me like hotel hairdryers that are on a different voltage and offer up the possibility of frizzy hair, etc. But those are mundane issues, right? Certainly, I can wear a brave face in handling them??? Right?
I saw a home décor sign at a gift shop recently that is applicable now. It said, “Of course I talk to myself, I need expert advice.” In need of a pep talk as I face these issues, I turn to ten motivational messages I posted on social media in the past year:
- I will not obsess. I will not obsess. I will not obsess.
- Overthinking: The art of creating problems that don’t exist.
- Feel the fear and do it anyway.
- Be a warrior, not a worrier.
- Suck it up, buttercup.
- You are brave and brilliant and oh so resilient.
- Every little thing gonna be alright.
- Inhale confidence. Exhale doubt.
- I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.
- She believed she could, so she did.
Ok, I have parked my worries and filled my tank with confidence boosters. I’ve also gotten a good laugh, which lightens my mood. (Suck it up, buttercup?!) Add it all together, and I’m feeling better. It’s amazing to see that when I write down my worries they don’t seem as awful as when they roll around continuously inside my brain.
Because of all this, I am going to stop looking at the hole and see the donut instead: An amazing trip with my beloved granddaughter awaits me! The folks at G2family.org have given us meaningful programming so far and will surely provide more in Israel. In fact, I know about one event taking place early in our trip. To prepare for it, the grandparents were given an assignment. We were each asked to write a blessing for our grandchild. The grandkids will receive these hand-written notes in a special ceremony. Here is what I said:
Dear Tillie Rose, I hope you will pick out one wonderful experience from the Israel trip and turn it into a “snapshot” to keep in your mind forever. Then whenever you have a difficult day in your life, you can find that snapshot in your head, and let it shine its light on you. XO, Marmel
This is such good advice, I think I’ll follow it too. When I catch myself in an act of personal bravery on this trip, I’ll snap a mental picture of it to revisit the next time I am in a panic. Thus, I will be reminded of these facts: I am strong, I am intelligent, I can handle the things that are thrown my way. Indeed, I am woman, hear me roar!