When you were not quite three years old we sent you to preschool for the first time. That first week I cried myself to sleep at night, feeling like I’d failed you as a mother. I always thought I could be a total superwoman, running both the office and the house with a small child underfoot. Then as you grew more curious and mobile and independent, after awhile we realized that wasn’t fair to you. You didn’t need to be told “No” and “don’t touch” all the time. You needed freedom to learn and play and grow in a safe environment with more individual attention. You needed to make new friends. And make more progress. So I was entrusting my precious two-year-old to someone else’s care. And it broke my heart.
What happened for you there was remarkable. You were happy. You were social. You loved it. Sometimes you didn’t even want to come home. Our family also became more organized. I wasn’t so stressed. I was able to be more productive at work, so that the time we spent with you after “school” would be more quality time. We took family walks after dinner, and cherished our bedtime rituals. What I at first viewed as tragic eventually turned out to be the very best thing for our little family.
. . . . .
Ironically, sending you off to the wilderness last week felt very much like I felt when we sent you off to preschool for the first time. I know it's a completely different set of circumstances, but as we compared programs and put the final plans in place, I cried my eyes out. And I cried myself to sleep at night, once again feeling like I’d failed you as a mother.
Your teenage years have made you even more curious and mobile and independent, and we saw you frequently flirting with danger. You seemed to be unwilling and unable to tell yourself and your friends “No” and "Don't touch". I couldn't possibly keep an eye on you 24/7. Now, in a similar yet very different way, you need the freedom of the outdoors to learn and grow in a safe environment, with a different kind of attention than we can give. You need to make new friends. And make more progress. So I am once again entrusting my precious son to someone else’s care. And once again, it breaks my heart.
I think what can happen for you in the wilderness will be remarkable. You will be stronger, wiser, and, yes, happier. You already say how much you love it there. There's a power and a presence in the wilderness that is comforting like no other. There is an abundance of the spirit. I feel like this is the very best thing not only for you, but for our whole family. Despite the heartache, I feel peace. We are trying to make progress too, while you are away. And loving you throughout every mile of the journey.
And I will also be your light in the wilderness; and I will prepare the way before you, and ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led. 1 Nephi 17: 13