details, details



My daughter just took a ten-hour bus trip across Guatemala to reach the agency she’ll be serving with for the next three months. During out first phone conversation, I casually (I thought) mentioned, “I suppose I shouldn’t ask about the bus trip.”

“No, well, there’s a reason I didn’t include every detail in the email.”

Which is to say—Mom, no you don’t want to know. There are some things about which you would prefer to remain in blissful ignorance. And the funny thing is, that’s true.

I know what imagine. I imagine it resembled the road we saw this summer at Hurricane Ridge, on the Olympic Peninsula. Obstruction Pass Road. I mean really, doesn’t the name tell you something? Something that’s an obstruction just willfully intends to be difficult, right?

To be fair, all the literature about this particular road (and I use the term ‘road’ to mean ‘gravel path someone sarcastically refers to as a road just to see who will attempt to drive down it in an Airstream’) warned: Unless you have a real off-road vehicle, do not even attempt this drive. Meaning, if you hail from the suburbs and truly believe in your heart your Hyundai Tucson can go off-roading, you are delusional. Turn back.

Oh, and a death wish. You should have one of those, too. As I have neither, and as that morning the fog was thick enough that you would not even see a guardrail two feet from your car if one did exist, (they didn’t) I declined. (By the way, Obstruction Pass Road is not the one to the left in the top picture. It’s the one that veers to the right–and disappears somewhere down the mountainside.)

Add to that random kidnappers and bandits (which typically do not exist in the Olympic National Forest, except for some rogue elk) and you get my idea of this road she took in Guatemala. But I choose not to imagine.

Have you had this odd psychosis as a parent? You really choose not to know? Sure, after the fact, when we can swap stories. But at the time it’s all coming down, do you want to know the dangers your kids may be in?

Our daughter is so happy making connections with and serving people who are very different from herself. She is discovering much about the world around and inside her. These are good things. These are the things I want to know about. And I can live with the unease that these good things don’t always come safely or easily. As long as I don’t have to know the details.

I’d love to know how you handle this puzzle.

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