A Bold Decision for an Eight Year Old!

“What day is it Maman” asked a smiling Sabrina when she woke up this morning.

“Thursday, my love.”

Barely able to contain her joy she squealed with delight as she hugged me tight “It’s almost THE day!!!!”

Happy girl at wake up time

Yes it’s almost THE day…

THE day when my littlest one embarks on the biggest adventure of her life.

THE day when I will not hold back the tears I know will be flowing freely.

My 8 year old has made a bold decision… One that will impact her life and ours in ways we can’t even foresee yet.

One that will empower her to be a strong, independent and successful young lady.

My baby is going to France for the summer… And she won’t be back until Christmas!

Ouch, my heart aches as I write these words and yes, tears already fill my eyes.

Our family tradition has been to send each girl to spend her sixth grade year in France, living with my amazing parents and attending a local French school. My oldest daughter, who turned 18 last month, set this beautiful project in place when she was just eight….

“I really wish I could stay the whole year!” she had said after enjoying several magical summers there.  And my dad had answered simply, “Well why not?”

And a few short years later, and elated 10 year old embarked on the trip of a lifetime. Our second daughter followed three short years after when she entered sixth grade.

And now here we are, days from the big departure…

Days from that magical moment for my youngest one…

Days from the moment my heart will break into a million pieces…

Packing suicase

Her suitcase is almost packed. We’ve been sorting through everything taking only what is necessary. She always comes home from her summers in France with the most amazing wardrobe so why pack anything that won’t be used?

I’ve been through this twice already,  but this feels different.  As excited as I am for my little one, and confident that this is the right decision, I am heavy hearted.

Sabrina is only eight and will be entering 3rd grade, and she is my baby.

How can I let her go for six months? Already my arms crave her sweet little body, my neck longs for the warmth of her little head that nestles there so perfectly.

But as I take in the mesmerizing smile on her beautiful face, and see the joy that fills her so completely, I find myself asking another question: “How could I not let her go?”

She may be young but she is ready.

As the youngest of three strong, independent young ladies, she has been waiting for this practically her whole life.

And mom and dad are ready too 🙂

They are so excited to spend this special time with her and get to really know her.

And they still have the energy to tend to a vivacious young lady.

And that is why I am willing to let her go… To allow her to benefit from the same empowering experience her two sisters enjoyed… To give her the gift of having her grandparents all to herself for an entire year and being blessed with their love and wisdom.

I do  not know what the future holds… I always wondered if my parents would have the stamina to welcome her three years from now, when she makes the transition to middle school.

My parents are both in excellent health, thanks be to God, but dad will be 82 this year and, let’s be honest, three years make a big difference at that age.

My parents are the most extraordinary parents in the world and I have always done whatever I can to ensure my daughters build a meaningful and personal relationship with them despite the almost seven thousand miles that separate us.

To spend a year in the loving care of their grandparents, nurtured by their all encompassing love, immersed in a culture that is there’s by blood, claiming their rightful place as french citizens is a gift of immeasurable value.

And it is a gift I give to Sabrina and my parents with a deep and bountiful joy, and infinite gratitude!  I am blessed beyond compare to know that my little one will be in the most loving home in the world, building memories that will stay imprinted in her heart for the rest of her life.

How could I not let her go?


  1. wow, what an amazing opportunity. I don’t think I would be strong enough to let my daughter(s) go but it definitely makes it easier that the girls have your parents there. If this were just a random trip with school or something I would totally say no. Hope she has an amazing time and time flies for you so you can see your baby soon enough.

    • I am so grateful to my parents Jennifer! I would not let her go for more than a few weeks if it were just a school trip (our fifth graders take a 2 week trip to Paris). But I know this is so much more and that my parents and my daughter will treasure this time forever!

  2. What an amazing opportunity! I sent my 16 yr old to africa for two weeks and I was a mess but I kept reminding myself that it was a once in a lifetime experience.

  3. This will be an amazing experience for her. People learn so much through traveling! This is such a cool family tradition.

  4. You are so selfless letting her go! I don’t think I could do it, but you’re right, it’s definitely going to be great for her as well as your parents. Wishing your strength as you say your goodbyes!

  5. what an amzing opportunity. SHe’s going to have memories for a lifetime

  6. Oh wow! What an opportunity! As a daughter I think that sounds fabulous but the mom in me would be in tears. You are so blessed to have such supportive parents. 🙂

  7. I know it has to be so hard to let her go as a parent. But, wow, what an amazing opportunity she’ll remember he whole life!

  8. Linda Manns Linneman says:

    This has to be such a wonderful experience and one they will never forget. You are a great mommy to allow them to do this. I wish you the best. Thank you so much for sharing

  9. Alicia Boarts says:

    What a great opportunity for her. BUT, I can barely survive the two weeks without my daughter when she’s only 4 hours away with her grandparents. Good luck

    • It’s been hard Alicia because I want to hug her so badly and I miss her beautiful smile and bubbly personality… but every time we Skype, which is just about daily, she beams! And so do my parents. And that’s what it’s all about. I see them and it makes the sacrifice worth it. They are building memories that will last a life time. My heart aches with joy when I see them as much as it aches with sorrow when I miss my little princess <3

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